Winter days are usually less windy, but a new analysis shows turbines work harder on the coldest days, when power demand is highest. A new study shows that on the very coldest days turbines often produce more power than the average winter day.

The team, which involved scientists from the Met Office Hadley Centre, Imperial College London and the University of Reading, found that during high demand (cold) days, capacity from turbines decreased by an average of a third. However, during the highest five percent of energy demand days, one third had above-average wind power, due to more of these days having strong easterly winds. The research suggests that a spread of turbines around Great Britain would make the most of the varied wind patterns associated with the coldest days – maximising power supply during high demand conditions. Results also suggest that during high demand periods offshore wind power provides a more secure supply compared to onshore, as offshore wind is sustained at higher levels.