Global wind power production is ‘very predictable’

2 April 2024

Eoltech, a prominent wind and solar resource assessment consultancy, has released the findings of a new study that aimed at assessing the variations of the global wind resource over the last 15 years. The data show that worldwide wind power production is very predictable, with annual variations remaining within a ± 3 % range. These results are based on the irec index, the wind energy index covering 80% of the world’s onshore wind farms installed by 2023.

The study combines the irec wind energy indexes that Eoltech releases each month for the 300 geographical areas worldwide with the highest number of farms. By aggregating and weighting this data, Eoltech was able to generate a global as well as a European wind energy index and provide an overview of global wind resource trends over the past 15 years.

The Global Index covers geographical areas which host about 80% of the world’s operating onshore wind farms, while the European Index cover 97% of the continent’s operating wind farms. The latter shows that wind resource annual variations are within a ± 7% range in Europe, compared to ± 3% worldwide.

“Operating wind farms experience a large diversity of wind regimes, which on a local scale cause significant resource variability from one year to another. Locally, the production of a wind farm can show a yearly variation of 25%. But on a larger scale accumulated production is much more stable. It should also be noted that our analysis does not show any downward trend over the last 15 years in the global wind resource. Yes, the wind does always blow somewhere on the planet, and it is good news for wind power going forward”, commented Eoltech CEO Habib Leseney.

Irec design includes ERA5 data, one of the latest climate re-analysis data sets produced by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). This indicator is mainly used by asset managers and wind farm owners to compare their production variation from one period to another. Such tools are crucial to assess the production capacity of their portfolio regardless of the wind speed variation level and enable to identify drift affecting the portfolio value over time.

”irec index is used to monitor hundreds of wind farms in operation worldwide. This monthly indicator enables to get an overview of the production capacity of the entire portfolio and its evolution over time. It helps to complement the in-depth analysis of SCADA monitoring data carried out by the operator”, concluded Eoltech Technical Lead Marion Jude.

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