The changing sensitivity of power systems to meteorological drivers: a case study of Great Britain

H C Bloomfield, D J Brayshaw, L C Shaffrey, P J Coker, H E Thornton

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

30 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing use of intermittent renewable generation (such as wind) is increasing the exposure of national power systems to meteorological variability. This study identifies how the integration of wind power in one particular country (Great Britain, GB) is affecting the overall sensitivity of the power system to weather using three key metrics: total annual energy requirement, peak residual load (from sources other than wind) and wind power curtailment.

The present-day level of wind power capacity (approximately 15 GW) is shown to have already changed the power system's overall sensitivity to weather in terms of the total annual energy requirement, from a temperature- to a wind-dominated regime (which occurred with 6GW of installed wind power capacity). Peak residual load from sources other than wind also shows a similar shift. The associated changes in the synoptic- and large-scale meteorological drivers associated with each metric are identified and discussed. In a period where power systems are changing rapidly, it is therefore argued that past experience of the weather impacts on the GB power system may not be a good guide for the impact on the present or near-future power system.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Article number054028
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2018


  • climate variability
  • Climate impacts
  • demand
  • wind power
  • power systems

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