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News - 27 September 2021

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Wind lulls in 2021 compared with 2020.

27 September 2021

Wind Lulls in 2021

Another of our news articles details wind lulls in 2020 and their relevance to the National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios, FES2020.

FES 2021 has now been published and gives an increase in installed wind capacity of over 25% in 2021 compared with 2020.

Taking a wind lull as when wind is supplying less than 5% of demand, one would expect a decrease in wind lulls as installed capacity increases. The table below compares 2021 to date with the same period in 2020.

Comparison of wind lulls to the end of August - 2020 to 2021
Month Total Hours <5% No of Lulls No of Lulls >5 hours No of Lulls >10 hours Maximum Lull (hours)
2021          
January 15 5 1 0 5
February 34 1 1 1 34
March 110 9 7 4 43.5
April 156 13 7 4 53.5
May 177 17 8 4 67
June 89 9 6 3 30.5
July 314.5 9 6 5 120
August 128.5 17 4 5 54.5
TOTAL 1024 80 40 26  
2020          
January 32.5 5 3 1 12.5
February 12 1 1 1 12
March 39 5 3 1 21
April 70 6 5 4 22
May 124 12 7 4 32.5
June 137.5 5 3 3 88.5
July 58.5 8 4 3 20
August 78 13 5 2 21.5
TOTAL 551.5 55 31 19  

It can be seen that in every aspect of the analysis wind lulls have increased in 2021 compared with 2020.

Of most concern is the almost doubling in the total time when wind contributed less than 5% of demand, including 13 days in total in July when wind contributed very little to the grid.

The table confirms that low wind speeds are not unusual, in fact they are frequent and often extended. Assuming weather patterns remain the same in future years, it can also be assumed that wind lulls will not significantly decrease as the capacity of operational wind turbines is increased.

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