Weather and climate risk in power systems with renewables

AbstractThe growing use of weather-dependent renewable power is changing the way electricity systems operate. The traditional paradigm – where large power plants are managed to meet variations in electricity demand – is being replaced by a situation in which demand and supply are strongly influenced by weather.  This has profound consequences for power systems where supply-demand balance must be maintained in real time, and the need for high-quality meteorological information to manage risk across all timescales has never been greater.  Despite this, the use of long-term climate information in power system planning remains extremely limited, and NWP output is typically not evaluated in explicitly ‘power system’ terms.

Recent developments in weather and climate science therefore offer opportunities but also raise new challenges for how we understand, model and quantify meteorological impacts in complex systems.  This talk will focus on renewables integration and the conversion of meteorological inputs into power system properties identified as a critical step.  Two examples are illustrated: power systems operations (days to months) and power system design (years to decades).

For operational timescales, the utility of probabilistic NWP is shown to depend on the power system property being forecast (e.g., extreme wind ramps in the UK are typically less predictable than total wind power output by 1-2 days), and the sources of uncertainty at different forecast horizons are discussed (downscaling/calibration vs. synoptic evolution).  At longer time-horizons, the need for a deeper understanding of climate impacts on power systems is emphasised.  Planning solutions based on short climate baselines are shown to be subject to substantial climate uncertainty that has previously been neglected.  The importance of co-ordinated continental-scale planning for ‘supergrids’ is also demonstrated, highlighting how an improved distribution of wind- and solar- farms combined with a pan-European supergrid could improve mean yield while reducing day-to-day volatility by ~30%.

Speaker bioDavid Brayshaw is the Associate Professor in Climate Science and Energy Meteorology at the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading and a Principal Investigator with the UK's National Centre for Atmospheric Science.  His research interests concern large-scale atmospheric dynamics and its impact on human and environmental systems.  In 2012, he founded the energy-meteorology research group ( and has since been involved in a range of academic and industry-partnered projects on weather and climate risk in the energy sector, covering timescales from days to decades ahead.

Thursday, December 7, 2017
FL2-1022 Large Auditorium 


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Announcement Timing: 
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 to Thursday, December 7, 2017
Calendar Timing: 
Friday, December 8, 2017 - 3:30am to 4:30am

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