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European wind output hits February high

Wind power in Europe amounted to an average output of over 85GW in February, equivalent to over two hundred 400MW coal units of power generation, according to data from market analyst outfit EnAppSys.

Wind speeds were consistently high across Europe last month, resulting in a 68% increase in levels of electricity generated by turbines, compared with February 2019 levels, the company said.

In addition, wind output as a proportion of total generation in Europe reached a record 27% in February, significantly higher than the previous high of 18% in February 2019.

The average wind generation last month increased by 61% compared to February 2019, while maximum output increased by 40%, which meant that though February 2020 was windier than last year, a higher wind capacity also contributed to the increase in wind output.

Looking at country-specific wind generation, the highest wind output for February occurred in Germany, at an average of 29.1GW in February, the highest ever monthly wind generation in the country.

Great Britain followed with a 9.6GW average and France with an 8GW average.

However, out of countries EnAppSys studied, Denmark, Ireland and Germany had the highest share of generation from wind as a proportion of their respective demand, at around 50%.

EnAppSys said: “With Ireland only able to source 70% of demand from wind farms during a single half-hour and with other markets in Europe typically seeing a maximum at around 55-65%, these values are close to the limits of how wind generation can currently be easily integrated into power markets.

“This is particularly difficult for ‘islands’, such as Great Britain and Ireland where interconnection with neighbouring markets is not frequency coupled. This means they have to manage grid frequency on an individual grid basis.”

Mainland European countries can utilise stability and grid services across the whole European grid to provide frequency control.

Based on the analysis, Continental Europe covered 19% wind generation as a proportion of its demand in February 2020, giving it a high available margin to increase renewable generation before additional grid stability measures are required.

EnAppSys also found that in February 2020, hydro generation rose by 26%, compared with February 2019, supported by the extreme weather and high levels of rainfall, boosting the levels of renewable generation so far in 2020 in Europe.

“The consequence of this activity was that although overall requirements for electricity generation rose, generation from gas-fired power stations remained relatively steady year-to-year, whilst coal/lignite generation dropped 26% year-on-year,” according to EnAppSys.



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