Norway’s Answer to Wind Power Intermittency Lies Offshore – Study

SINTEF has revealed in its recent study that there is no statistical covariation or systematic correlation in time between the occurrence of offshore wind conditions in southern and northern Norway, and adds that this knowledge will increase the commercial value of Norwegian offshore wind energy.


An analysis of wind statistics showed that there is no systematic correlation in southern and northern Norway and that there is also little covariance between periods of windy conditions in southern and northern Norway as well, SINTEF said.

This means that when electricity customers demand power, the wind will always be blowing at least somewhere along the Norwegian coast, which will boost the value of Norwegian offshore wind energy and reduce the need for balancing measures in the electricity supply system, according to the research institute.

The study was based on wind data taken from 15 areas previously identified by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) as potential wind farm sites.

The areas are spread from the Sørlig Nordsjø II concession in the far south to Sandskallen offshore western Finnmark in the north. Other areas included the UK Dogger Bank, a location close to the coast of Jutland in Denmark, and another in the German sector of the Baltic Sea.

The goal was to look for possible relationships (statistical correlations) between when the wind blows and where, SINTEF said.

The study outlined that ocean winds in the north and south of the area under investigation exhibit no systematic covariation.

This means that overall offshore wind energy generation in Norway can be regarded as more stable, thus potentially enabling us to avoid the incidences of intermittent production that are very demanding to manage“, according to the institute.

Future wind farm operators would be faced with a “big squeeze”, says SINTEF, if the wind was always blowing (or not blowing) at the same time all along the coast.

In a situation like that, the wind farm operators would all be feeding the energy into the market at the same time which could lead to a decrease in electricity price, reducing the potential revenues earned by the operators, according to the institute.

Without the lack of covariation between wind conditions in the north and south, offshore wind power generation would become more intermittent.

This in turn would increase the need for balancing measures, involving the use of hydropower or other flexibility built into the power system in order to ensure that consumption and generation keep pace with each other, SINTEF said.

The study outlined that if wind farms are geographically spread, the need for balancing measures will be reduced.

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