Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering


Simon Watson

Professor Simon Watson

Professor of Wind Energy

Tel: +44 (0)1509 635348

Location: MBG0J19

Simon Watson is a Professor of Wind Energy in CREST (the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology) and heads up the Wind and Water Power Research Team. His main research expertise is in the field of wind energy.

Prof Watson has been working at Loughborough University since 2001 and his main research areas include:

  • Condition Monitoring of Wind Turbines: developing methods to analyse the performance and structure of wind turbines to provide prediction of potential failures;
  • Wind Resource Assessment: using advanced computer models to better predict the expected wind resource at more challenging sites, e.g. in complex terrain, near forests, offshore and in the built environment; 
  • Wind Power Forecasting: developing advanced numerical and statistical forecasting methods for long term and short term prediction of expected wind farm output;
  • Wake Modelling: using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models to study wake interactions within large arrays of wind turbines;
  • Wave Power Device Modelling: experimental and numerical studies of novel wave power devices;
  • Climate Change Impacts: studying the impact of climate change on the electricity supply industry including wind power.

Prof Watson is a member of the European Academy for Wind Energy and is a board member of of the European Renewable Energy Research Centres Agency (EUREC). He is also on the editorial panel for Wind Engineering. Prof Watson as been Head of the Energy Division, and is also the Programme Director for the European Masters in Renewable Energy. 

Professor Watson's recent inaugural lecture, 'Reap the Wild Wind,  explained the contribution wind energy is making to electricty generation world-wide, the challenges faced and the enormous potential if these can be overcome.

Watch the lecture on YouTube by clicking on the image below.

CREST video thumbnail


Condition Monitoring
Wind power
Water power
Climate change
Wind resource
Wind turbines

Prof Watson began his education in North Lincolnshire and studied for a degree in physics at Imperial College, London. Following graduation, he studied for a PhD in photonuclear physics at Edinburgh University supported by a CASE award with the UK Atomic Energy Authority at Harwell, Oxfordshire. 

Prof Watson then spent eight years working as a Senior Scientific Officer in the Energy Research Unit of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. His research activities during that time including wind power forecasting, wind resource assessment and the integration of wind power into electricity networks. Much of this work was funded by the European Union and involved collaboration with some of the leading European research institutes in wind energy including the Risoe National Laboratory in Denmark and the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands.

He then worked for the green electricity supply company Good Energy. Good Energy are one of the leading independent suppliers of electricity generated from renewable energy sources including wind power and small hydro power. During this time, he helped to develop the settlements and trading systems before joining Loughborough University in 2001.

At Loughborough, Prof Watson has worked on a number of EU and EPSRC projects collaborating with a number of leading research centres in the UK and Europe as well as key players in the wind power industry. 

Prof Watson is a visiting lecturer to Zaragoza University in Spain.

Professional Affiliations

  • Member of the Institute of Physics
  • Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Prof Watson is Head of the Energy Division and Head of Wind and Water Power Research in CREST. During his research career, projects have included:

  • Improving techniques for statistical and physical modelling of wind resource in complex terrain;
  • Implementing short-term prediction at utilities;
  • Assessment of the effect of tide, sea-state and atmospheric stability on offshore winds;
  • GENESIS: a generic process for assessing climate change impacts on the electricity supply industry and utilities;
  • CONMOW: development of condition monitoring techniques for offshore wind turbines;
  • SUPERGEN Wind: improving reliability and availability of wind turbines.

Prof Watson has supervised a number of PhD projects including:

  • Amitava Roy: modelling of atmospheric electrolysers powered by renewable energy;
  • Hanan Al Buflasa: study of wind power potential in the kingdom of Bahrain;
  • Ned Minns: modelling the response of a oscillating water column wave power device;
  • Scott Wylie: CFD modelling of wind flow in and around forest canopies;
  • Petros Kritharas: long term forecasting of wind power;
  • Rolando Soler-Bientz: evaluation of the wind patterns over the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico;
  • Norzanah Rosmin: control of a variable speed fixed-pitch stall-regulated wind turbine.

Prof Watson is the Responsible Examiner for the undergraduate Part C module 'Renewable Energy Systems'. He is also Responsible Examiner for the postgraduate 'Wind 1', 'Wind 2' and 'Water' modules. He is currently the Programme Director for the MSc in Renewable Energy Systems Technology and the European Masters in Renewable Energy.

Typically, Prof Watson supervises between 3-6 undergraduate final year projects as well as over 12 postgraduate projects each year.

View all Professor Watson’s publications in the central publications database

Selected Publications

Wilson D M, Rowley P N and Watson S J (2011). ‘Utilising a Risk-Based Systems Approach in the Due Diligence Process for Renewable Energy Generation’. Published online in IEEE Systems Journal (10.1109/JSYST.2011.2125150).

Soler-Bientz R, Watson S J, Infield D G and Ricalde-Cab L (2011). ‘Preliminary study of the offshore wind and temperature profiles at the North of the Yucatán Peninsula’. Published online in Energy Conversion and Management (10.1016/j.enconman.2011.02.024).

Watson S J, Xiang B J, Yang W, Tavner P J and Crabtree C J (2010). ‘Condition monitoring of the power output of wind turbine generators using wavelets’. IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, 25 pp 715-721.

Gray C S and Watson S J (2009). ‘Physics of Failure Approach to Wind Turbine Condition Based Maintenance’. Wind Energy 13 pp 395-405.

Guo H, Watson S J, Tavner P, Xiang J (2009) ‘Reliability analysis for wind turbines with incomplete failure data collected from after the date of initial installation’. Reliability Engineering and System Safety 94 pp 1057-1063.

Al Buflasa H, Infield D G, Watson S J and Thomson M (2008). ‘Wind Resource Assessment for the Kingdom of Bahrain’. Wind Engineering 32 pp 439-448.

Wiggelinkhuizen E, Verbruggen T, Braam H, Rademakers L, Xiang J and Watson S, (2008). ‘Assessment of condition monitoring techniques for offshore wind farms’. Transactions of the ASME :Journal of Solar Energy Engineering 130 pp 031004-1 to 031004-9.

Hor C-L, Crossley P A and Watson S J (2007). ‘Building Knowledge for Substation-Based Decision Support Using Rough Sets’. IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery 22 pp 1372-1379. DOI: 10.1109/TPWRD.2006.886783.

Heath M A, Walshe J D and Watson S J (2007). ‘Estimating the potential yield of small building-mounted wind turbines', Wind Energy 10 pp 271-287.

Roy A, Watson S J and Infield D G (2006). ‘Comparison of electrical energy efficiency of atmospheric and high-pressure electrolysers’. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 pp 1964-1979.

McQueen D and Watson S J (2006). ‘Validation of wind speed prediction methods at offshore sites’. Wind Energy 9 pp 75-85.

Hor C, Watson S J and Majithia S (2005). ‘Analyzing the Impact of Weather Variables on Monthly Electricity Demand’. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems 20 pp 2078-2085.

McQueen D H O, Hyland P R, Watson S J (2005). ‘Application of a Monte Carlo Simulation Method for Predicting Voltage Regulation on Low-Voltage Networks’. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems 20 pp 279-285.

McQueen D H O, Hyland P R, Watson S J (2004). ‘Monte Carlo Simulation of Residential Electricity Demand for Forecasting Maximum Demand on Distribution Networks’. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems 19 pp 1685-1689.

Khan D, Watson S J, Infield D G (2003). ‘Identifying the effect of tidal height on offshore wind speed profiles’. Wind Energy 6 pp 405-412.

Integration of renewable energy into electricity networks, Modelling and Simulation (including virtual/synthetic environments), Renewable Energy Systems, Statistical Estimation and Detection Techniques, Wind power


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