Wind Droughts: Who Knew?


Can you tell me in the comments when you first encountered the term “wind droughts?”

It came up in the second briefing note from the Energy Realists but not in the first which was written to convey the idea of sudden death if wind is not available all the time. The choke point idea didn’t work because a lot of people thought it meant congestion rather than deprivation.

Note 1 Note 2

I think AEMO referred to wind droughts in some literature in 2020 but I can’t recall what it was.

Mark mills he is one of the best commentators on energy issues and if you don’t believe me have a look at this video which is a powerful rejoinder to people who think that the energy transition is inevitable and it is going great guns.

On the topic of wind droughts he said that the failure of planners and policy-makers to take account of wind droughts is the great untold story of the decade. This is a story that would like to write for Wikipedia.

Last time I looked there was no entry for wind droughts in Wikipedia which is surprising because to paraphrase Descartes , it is in Wikipedia therefore it exists.

There are entries for The Doldrums and Dunkelflautes, but only since 2020 when they started to wreck the power supply in Britain and Germany.

So who knew about wind droughts before the work of Anton Lang and Paul Miskelly and his team got some oxygen from Jo Nova and the Energy Realists?

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March 5, 2024 4:48 pm

We had windless days when I was growing up. 70 or so years ago.

Winston Smith
March 5, 2024 5:23 pm

I assume you’re talking about the term “Wind Droughts”, Rafe?
I only remember it being used here initially then after a bit, it started getting into the headlines in 2021 in Great Britain.

Winston Smith
March 5, 2024 5:24 pm

…mind you, Rafe – it used to be a phenomenon in days of old when pirates were bold and didn’t have diesel engines.

March 5, 2024 6:25 pm

I think I saw it referred to on WUWT.
Definitely pre Covid.

March 5, 2024 10:08 pm

Definately in use with WAfarmers 40+ years ago to describe lack of wind meaning windmills didn’t turn meaning stock had no water. Some stations were notorious for it

Farmer Gez
Farmer Gez
March 7, 2024 5:43 am

Wind droughts are more common in drought years which are frequent in Australia.
As the cold fronts track further south in El Niño years there’s long periods of clear windless days and frequent frosts during winter and spring.
I can remember 1982 which was a record breaking drought year. The weather during the colder months was very mild and calm for most of the year but turned nasty in late Spring as the heat build up and temperature differential created by the southern ocean caused big dust storms.
We were often without water for our farm house as the old windmill would be still for most of the day and the tanks wouldn’t get filled. Many farmers bought motor driven pumps that year.

Farmer Gez
Farmer Gez
March 7, 2024 5:48 am

AEMO’s ISP is predicated on the belief that the wind will be blowing somewhere.
They tell us farmers at meetings this little article of faith and wonder why we think the whole plan is bullshit.

March 7, 2024 1:10 pm

Rafe, late entry here, but may help.

I remember wind droughts being discussed on Bishop Hill about 10 years ago, when there was a lot of information about wind turbines being put up, especially about flicker effects and low frequency noise.

Unfortunately, the blog is no more, and its search function was never much good anyway. But, it might be worth contacting Andrew Montford and asking him if he can assist. I know he writes for The Conservative Woman (see sidebar) sometimes, which may help to track him down.

March 7, 2024 1:12 pm

Oh, forgot to mention that there was also discussion at BH and elsewhere in the context of those static high pressure systems, of which there was at least one big one over Europe in the mid teens. Lasted about six weeks IIRC.

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