Wind power in GB

According to the National Grid ESO wind power will become the primary source of electrcity in GB in coming years.

Projected wind capacity and generation suggest that it can indeed produce much more electrcity than it does now.

However, these projections are based on a set of assumptions that are proving to be totally false. We will deal with these assumptions on other pages. On this page we will look at the reality of the National Grid ESO's most recent forecasts and the actual performance of wind in GB.

The forecasts we use here are contained in the FES documents for the years referred to, and in particular the relevant data workbooks.

The reported performance in each case is from the Elexon site, which is the official reporting source for the GB National Grid.

What happend in 2020?

The chart shows two lines.

The dashed red line shows the forecast wind generation for the year levelised over the year, i.e. representing how a plot of the generation would look if it were evenly spread over the year.

The green line shows the actual generation over the year. A fairly normal pattern for GB is seen. There is more wind generation in winter months so wind exceeded the levelised forecast. During summer the wind produced less electricity, so the green line dropped to be closer to the red line. Later in the year wind generation picked up and by the end of the year the forecast was achieved.

(In FES 2019 the 5 year forecast for total onshore and offshore wind generation in 2020 was 52.3TWh. The total generated was 54.7TWh.

GB Grid wind vs forecast 2020

What happend in 2021?

With increased wind capacity in 2021 you would expect generation to increase accordingly, but it didn't. What wind did in 2021 was to demonstrate how unpredictable it is, and how we have no control over how much wind there is to use.

Early in the year wind was soon "behind schedule" in generation, and it never caught up, finishing the year with a significant deficit against forecast.

(In FES 2020 the 5 year forecast for total onshore and offshore wind generation in 2021 was 62.23TWh. The total generated was just under 49TWh.

GB Grid wind vs forecast 2021

What happened early in 2022?

Wind capacity had increased again, but once again we see that wind was soon well behind forecast. There was much praise for wind in February, but this was short-lived as wind once again proved that it just cannot justify the claims that are made for it.

In the early weeks and months of 2022 we saw that wind generation really can't be forecast in a meaningful way or relied upon to any extent.

GB Grid wind vs forecast 2022

FES 2022

In July 2022 National Grid ESO released FES 2022.

In that document the forecast for wind on the GB grid in 2022 was reduced from 88.84TWh to 76.54TWh, a reduction of almost 14%.

However, despite this wind continues to fall short. The chart on the right shows the continuing performance of GB grid wind in 2022.

Although capacity has increased by about 18% from 2020, generation has only increased by about 8%.

GB Grid wind vs revised forecast 2022