The cold weather experienced in parts of the Northern Hemisphere, including large parts of Europe, was caused by January’s Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) event which resulted in the temporary collapse of the Polar Vortex.
The cold weather conditions across most parts of continental Europe are expected to remain into next week, with a high-pressure system over Norway bringing cold air. Extreme cold is not just a burden for affected populations, but also for industries that are weather dependent, such as the energy sector with cold weather periods strongly impacting demand and prices.
Electricity consumption in Norway reached an all-time high over 25,000 megawatt hours (MWh) early on Thursday 4th February, which impacted wholesale energy in the short-term market to some of the highest levels in five years. Similarly, European markets have also experienced higher demand for energy with low temperatures, with some concern that networks could experience record demand for power.
Europe has experienced some extreme low temperatures this week with –17 °C in Berlin and –21 °C in Helsinki, yet energy demand hasn’t quite reached the same levels as seen on 28th February 2018: 96.6 GW: in France, with energy demand peaking today at around 86 MW in France.
During periods of cold weather, the amount of power generated by renewable sources, like wind and solar, can play an important role in compensating for the high energy demand. Therefore, reliable wind and solar power forecasts with high spatial and temporal resolution are essential for grid operators.
The chart below shows the current Meteomatics national wind power forecast for Germany for 12th until 18th February, which shows a high level of uncertainty (grey lines in the chart) from 14th February onwards. The spread of ensemble members allows for an assessment of forecast uncertainty.
Similarly, the wind power forecast in France is also uncertain, as there is disagreement in the weather models on the extent of the high-pressure system and how much the approaching low-pressure system from the Atlantic will increase temperatures and bring higher wind speeds to France.
The weakened jet stream is making the current weather pattern over Europe volatile and brings a high level of uncertainty, regarding the evolution and movement of low-pressure systems. There is a risk for energy companies that low temperatures could continue in both France and Germany next week.
The chance of both France and Germany continuing to experience low temperatures appear to reduce from 15th February onwards, which is likely to lower demand for energy, with only a few members predicting a comeback for cold weather in Paris. Suggesting that energy prices could have passed their recent peak, which already reached >136 €/MWh on 10th February on the European Power Exchange (EPEX).
Meteomatics provides the energy industry with a wealth of information to help them make informed decisions based on the unfolding weather situation. Including downscaled probabilistic forecasts to help power and energy companies assess the weather uncertainty for any of their assets on the planet. Meteomatics provides downscaled data (temporal and horizontal) for both ensemble and deterministic forecasts at any point on the globe.
Moreover, Meteomatics optimizes weather models using the latest weather observations held in memory, to create the most accurate forecast possible: Meteomatics’ Model Mix (red line in chart). Meteomatics’ Mix removes the complexity of handling, assessing numerical weather models and observations, helping business confidently make informed decisions to obtain a competitive advantage in the energy market.