UK Wind 2017 – Resource Review

2017 brought mixed fortunes for UK wind assets, with production in some months significantly below expectations and others much higher. This was caused by some large variations in wind resource over the course of the year – some during what would normally be very productive months.

In January, monthly wind indices indicate that the wind resource in England and Wales was as low as 75% of what would typically be expected – resulting in energy outputs of less than 60% of what might usually have been achieved. However, a strong summer and autumn period across the board meant overall resource for the year was marginally above the long term average in all three regions.

The graph below shows the three countrywide wind indices, normalised by month during 2017:

Interestingly, Scotland has proven to be a valuable hedge against poor wind months in England and Wales, often fairing significantly better during low wind months than the rest of the UK. This appears to be due to the path of low pressure systems heading from the North Atlantic, meaning that when England and Wales enjoy a period of calm, Scotland is more likely to have windier weather, and vice-versa.

For investors, it means a diversified portfolio across the regions can be highly beneficial for stabilising returns throughout the year.