2021 a Wind Drought year in Europe


2021 was a poor year for Weather-Dependent “Renewables” power generation.  By the end of 2021 these three nations with varying commitments to Green energy had installed almost 200 GW of Weather-Dependent “Renewables” producing ~31 GW of power output over the year resulting in an overall productivity – capacity level of 15.8%. 

This post revues the Wind and Solar power performance based on hourly generation data in three major European nations with substantial commitment to Weather-Dependent “Renewables” over the year 2021:

  • Germany installed Weather-Dependent generation   ~122GW
  • United Kingdom installed Weather-Dependent generation   ~38GW
  • France installed Weather-Dependent generation   ~33 GW.

Screenshot 2023-01-27 at 10.04.37.png

In 2021 the overall nominal name plate value of these Weather-Dependent “Renewable” installations exceeded the the total power generated in the three nations, (by ~32%), as an average value.

Screenshot 2023-02-01 at 09.48.58.pngHowever the outcome of the massive German commitment to their Energiewende policies has meant that their nominal name plate value of “Renewables” was roughly double of the total power production in Germany, exceeding the total power output by +95%.  The resulting productivity – capacity of German Weather-Dependent “Renewables” only achieved ~14%.

For comparison the Weather-Dependent “Renewable” efforts in the UK exceeded the total UK  power output by +26%.  The resulting productivity – capacity of UK Weather-Dependent “Renewables” only achieved ~18.1%.

Nonetheless, both Germany and the UK are suffering significant power limitations in the current 2022-2023 winter as a result of their commitment to Weather-Dependent “Renewables”.  These grid failures are the result of their long-term energy policies that have restricted and eliminated dependable fossil fuel power generation technologies.  These power problems have only been exacerbated by the excuse of the conflict in the Ukraine.

France on the other hand has always been considered to be immune to power shortages because of its long-term Nuclear policy, but with a large proportion of their Nuclear fleet being off-line for maintenance and for some shortages of cooling water there are even concerns for French power supplies in the winter of 2022-2023.

prepared January 2023


In the context of the EU(27)+UK, with  a fleet of ~193GW Weather-Dependent “Renewables” as installed at the end of 2021 the three nations together represent:

  • Weather-Dependent Generation  ~50%
  • Installed Onshore Wind Power  ~50%
  • Installed Offshore Wind Power  ~45%
  • Installed Solar PV Power ~70%
  • Population  ~42%
  • Land area ~1.2 million sq kms ~26%
  • Land extent  covering  ~2000 kilometres:  North – South : 1500 kilometres: East  – West or ~3 million square kilometres land and sea.

Note:  these installation values were published for the end of 2021 and do not yet include the installations made in the course of 2022.  The hourly power production output values used are up to date to end 2022, so any higher values of extra installations over the 2022 year will somewhat reduce the overall reported productivity of the combined fleet of Weather-Dependent “Renewables” in the three Nations.

Together these three Nations are very different in their power generation technologies.  Overall they may be reasonably representative of the Europe-wide commitment to Weather-Dependent “Renewables” generation and those effects can be presumed to roughly equivalent across the rest of the whole European (27)+UK Region. 

These analyses are based on the assembly of hourly generation data for the three Nations.  As compared to the wind drought year of 2021, 2022 was a relatively normal year for Weather-Dependent “Renewable” power production and certainly more productive than 2021.

The 2021 European Wind Drought and Weather-Dependent power generation



2021 Combined Power Generation  DE UK FR

The combined hourly power production from all 3 Nations is shown below is shown below.Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 17.22.26.png

The proportions of power production by differing technologies in 2022 were as follows:

  • Nuclear power, mainly still from France in spite of its maintenance problems including substantial exports in 2021   ~41%
  • CO2 emitting technologies, including Biomass, with varying CO2 emissions levels   ~41%
  • Weather-Dependent “Renewables”   21%.

Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 17.24.29.png

The 193.3GW Weather-Dependent “Renewables” contributed just 30.6GW at a productivity / capacity of 15.8%.  The nominal name-plate value of the installed fleet of Weather-Dependent “Renewables” at 193GW exceeded the combined power output in 2022 by +32%.

Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 17.50.19.png

The year long variability of Weather-Dependent “Renewables” throughout 2022 is shown below.Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 18.08.06.png

The detailed variability of Wind power “Renewables” throughout 2021 is shown for the Germany, France and the UK on a monthly basis below.

Screenshot 2023-02-09 at 10.01.09.png

The comparison between summer and Winter output form Solar PV generators is shown below for January and July 2021.  The annual productivity – capacity % achieved in 2021 was 9.4%.

Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 18.07.04.png





The combined 2021 productivity achieved by the Weather-Dependent “Renewables” in the three Nations combined is shown below.

Screenshot 2023-02-01 at 06.52.06.png

2021 was a poorly productive year for European Wind power.  Their performance history over the last decade is shown below.  However it seems that overall “Renewables” productivity remains in the region of ~20% with combined Wind power in the region of 25% and Solar PV power remaining just in excess of 10%.

Screenshot 2023-02-03 at 13.02.39.png

This chart show the longterm recorded productivity throughout Europe + UK.  In 2021 Germany, the UK and France achieved even lower productivity at 15.8%.  Subsequently in 2022 the combined European productivity increased to 21.6%.

Using hourly data, the graphic below gives a measure of the variability of Wind power in DE UK FR area by identifying the percentages of hourly time periods that produced power at less than indicated levels from the installed Wind power fleet.

Screenshot 2023-02-03 at 15.30.02.png

For example, overall more than half the year, (54%), the combined fleet was producing less than 25% of its nominal combined name plate value and for about 10% of the year the whole fleet produced less than 10% of its name plate value.

The combined fleet production is generally less than individual Nations as a result of the cumulation of the differentials in Weather and Geography.

A few graphs tell all for Weather-Dependent “Renewables”



Data Sources

The data is condensed from Gridwatch to Hourly intervals:
  • for the UK  5 minute intervals
  • for France  15 minute intervals
Those data were condensed to hourly intervals
The hourly German data was provided by Rolf Schuster