Meteorological Drivers of European Power System Stress

H. C. Bloomfield, C. C. Suitters, D. R. Drew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


A rapid decarbonisation of power systems is underway in order to limit greenhouse gas emissions and meet carbon-reduction targets. Renewable energy is a key ingredient to meet these targets; however, it is important that national power systems still maintain energy security with increasing levels of renewable penetration. The operating potential of renewable generation at times of peak demand (a critical time for power system stress) is not well understood. This study therefore uses a multidecadal dataset of national demand, wind power, and solar power generation to identify the meteorological conditions when peak demand occurs and the contribution of renewables during these events. Wintertime European peak power demand events are associated with high atmospheric pressure over Russia and Scandinavia and are accompanied by lower than average air temperatures and average wind speeds across Europe. When considering power demand extremes net of renewable power production, the associated meteorological conditions are shown to change. There is considerable spatial variability in the dates of national peak demand events and the amount of renewable generation present. Growth in renewable generation has the potential to reduce peak demands. However, these impacts are also not uniform with much larger reductions in peak demand seen in Spain than in central Europe. The reanalysis-derived energy models have allowed recent peak demand events to be put into a long-term context.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Article number5481010
JournalJournal of Renewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2020


  • demand
  • wind power
  • solar power
  • peak demand
  • renewable generation

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