Limitations of wind power availability over Europe: a conceptual study
Abstract. Wind field statistics are evaluated from the ERA-40 data bank covering a period of 44 years with a temporal resolution of 6 h. Instantaneous wind speed values are provided in geographic cells of size 1°×1° (lat/long) for surface (10 m) and 1000 hPa pressure heights. Potential wind power generation is estimated in two steps. Firstly, the wind speed at hub height is approximated from surface data based on the statistical analysis of the wind and geopotential records for 1000 hPa pressure level. Secondly, the wind speed values are transformed by an idealised power curve fitted for measured data. The model time series are fed into various hypothetical electric networks. The main quantity of interest is the aggregated output from the networks. A reference power time series is determined for a static network connecting each continental site and an envelope of 1° around the shorelines (representing off-shore locations) over Europe. This time series exhibits a low average value and a marked annual periodicity. Wind power integration over limited areas results in higher average outputs at the expense of stronger fluctuations. The long-range spatial correlations of the wind field limit the level of fluctuations strongly which can not be eliminated either by an increase of the area of integration or by dynamic control. This study is fully conceptual, however it demonstrates the limitations of wind power integration over Europe.