A North/South wind divide? 15 February 2017
Climate impact means uneven UK wind power costs (via Climate News Network)
By Inga Vesper
Varying wind patterns caused by climate change could affect the cost of UK wind power, with northern Britain paying less than the south, a research paper suggests.
A simulation of changing wind resources by 2100 has found that the UK’s capacity for generating wind power will become more changeable, with some regions benefitting and others losing out. The year–on–year variation of wind power capacity will increase, the authors say.
The paper looked at what climate change will do to wind energy’s levelled cost of electricity (LCOE), the average value of one unit of power over the whole lifespan of the power source.
Across the UK, this cost is affected by the physical environment around the turbines and its impact on wind patterns, explains Iain Staffell, a researcher at the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London and co–author of the paper.
“An example would be the vegetation cover and topography, which affect how wind speeds change with height above ground,” he says. “Rougher surfaces create more drag, lower wind speeds and thus result in a higher cost.”