#ExplainingEnergy: Measuring the Weather

The weather has a significant impact on our operations so we asked Simon Cardy, SSE's Senior Meteorologist, to guest blog on our latest #ExplainingEnergy topic.

The operational performance and financial results of SSE’s principal businesses are each affected by the weather because of its impact on production of energy from renewable sources (Wholesale); its impact on electricity transmission and distribution lines (Networks); and its impact on the amount of gas and electricity used by customers (Retail).

It’s my job to monitor and understand the weather patterns and conduct forecasts for temperature, rainfall and wind. This allows SSE to:

  • Predict how forecast temperatures may affect customer’s demand for energy as well as whether unexpected fluctuations in daily temperatures require a response from SSE’s generation assets;
  • Forecast the temperature to inform how SSE’s energy portfolio managers buy power and gas in advance, thereby improving SSE’s energy procurement;
  • Establish short, medium and long-term wind forecasts which influences the electricity generation output from its renewable generation assets;
  • Monitor and prepare for how extreme winds or excessive rainfall may affect SSE’s transmission and distribution assets and its efforts to keep the lights on reliably and safely for customers; and
  • Assess how rainfall patterns will impact SSE’s hydro-electric generation output and storage capabilities in the north and the west of Scotland.

Therefore, the weather has a direct impact on SSE’s performance against its core purpose of providing the energy people need in a reliable and sustainable way.

The UK was hit by summer flooding and 12 Atlantic storms during our previous financial year. The saturated ground from the wet weather exacerbated the impact of the storms on SSE’s networks which had to prepare for and manage the impact of the weather and focus on its number one priority: restoring power for customers. The weather caused significant damage to the Networks. Yet Customer Minutes Lost per year – a key performance indictor for the Networks business – reduced by 16mins for SEPD and 14mins for SHEPD, compared to the previous year.

For more stats on what the weather means for SSE please see page 40-41 of our Annual Report.