This gives an annual summary of wind conditions across Europe.
The success of the global wind energy industry is linked directly to the performance and profitability of individual wind projects, which vary significantly from location to location and through time. In Wind Review, we give the industry an ongoing, high-level picture of wind across regions and sites within Europe. In doing so we aim to help you put the performance of your portfolio into context and assess whether your farm's under or over performance is due to wind or other factors, all based on wind statistics.
There was a general trend towards slightly lower wind speeds than normal, with only Iceland and Iberia seeing positive anomalies compared to the long term average. The pattern of where the strongest winds speeds occurred remained fairly typical during 2014. This was due to the general synoptic pattern remaining similar to climatology, although with a trend to slightly higher pressure than usual, especially during the summer months. This pattern meant that southern and eastern Europe saw the lowest wind speeds, due to high pressure persisting here, while northwest Europe had more frequent low pressure systems and hence higher wind speeds.
This pattern of climatologically-normal wind speeds can be seen on the Peterhead, UK and Gothenburg, Sweden graphs which ended up only slightly above their long term averages. However there are some variations on the monthly scale. For example, the unsettled winter across northern and western Europe is clearly visible through the higher-than-average wind speeds here during the January to March period. Higher pressure through the start of September across northwest Europe is shown through lower wind speeds seen during this month at these two sites.
Another graph that remained close to its long-term annual average is the Constanta, Romania graph. However, in contrast to the sites across northwest Europe, this had a below average winter. This was due to much higher pressure persisting across eastern Europe, as the unsettled weather was mostly confined to northwest Europe. The autumn period of September and October provided a positive anomaly, as higher pressure tended to dominate central and western Europe, steering more unsettled conditions to eastern countries.
The main positive anomaly to climatology can be seen on the Burgos, Spain graph. This has two main sources. First, the exceptionally unsettled winter provided a significant impact on the annual wind speeds. Secondly, negative anomalies through the rest of the year were very small, as conditions close to climatology prevailed. This led to Iberia being one of the few regions to have a positive annual anomaly.
Higher pressure was often centred across parts of central Europe, especially through summer and autumn. Being affected less by the winter storms further to the northwest, Germany ended the year with a noticeable negative anomaly. This can be seen on the Cologne graph where all months, with the exception of February, are either below or only slightly above the long term average. The cumulative effect of this higher pressure, and therefore persistent lower wind speed, resulted in the negative anomaly here.
Another site to record a noticeable negative anomaly was Buddoso in Italy. Whereas the rest of Europe remained generally true to climatology, this site saw a windy July followed by a calmer autumn. This was due to higher pressure across central Europe during the summer months, leading to a lower pressure system becoming trapped near Italy for a time during July, bringing thunderstorms and stronger winds. However from September, unsettled conditions became mostly confined to either northwestern Europe or eastern Europe, as high pressure dominated the Mediterranean. Consequently wind speeds were much lower than the long term average during this period, resulting in a below average annual value.
Last updated: 8 February 2016
A review of the windiest locations in Europe