Studies of the effects that wind power production imposes on the power system involve assessing the variations of large-scale wind power production over the whole power system area. Large geographical spreading of wind power will reduce variability, increase predictability and decrease the occasions with near zero or peak output. In this article the patterns and statistical properties of large-scale wind power production data are studied using the data sets available for the Nordic countries. The existing data from Denmark give the basis against which the data collected from the other Nordic countries are benchmarked. The main goal is to determine the statistical parameters describing the reduction of variability in the time series for the different areas in question. The hourly variations of large-scale wind power stay 91%–94% of the time within ±5% of installed capacity in one country, and for the whole of the Nordic area 98% of the time. For the Nordic time series studied, the best indicator of reduced variability in the time series was the standard deviation of the hourly variations. According to the Danish data, it is reduced to less than 3% from a single site value of 10% of capacity. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.