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Breakthrough Renewable Energy Forecasting Coming To US Grid By 2015

Breakthrough renewable energy forecasting technologies may be two years away from revolutionizing the efficiency of wind and solar generation on America’s grid.
Storm front

Storm front image via Shutterstock

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is adding to its already impressive list of renewable energy innovations with a new two-year plan to develop custom forecasting systems for wind energy and solar power.

NCAR scientists and engineers will develop technology to improve wind power output by predicting sudden changes in wind speed, help wind farm operators avoid curtailment during icy conditions, and predict the amount of energy generated by small-scale solar energy installations.
Pushing Past State Of The Art To Probabilistic Forecasts

This new batch of renewable energy forecasting systems will be deployed at Xcel Energy regional control centers in Denver, Minneapolis, and Amarillo to help the utility increase renewable energy output to the grid while reducing costs and ensuring a reliable power supply.

“This is pushing the state-of-the-art still further,” said Sue Ellen Haupt, NCAR program director. “Every improvement to the forecasts results in additional savings.”

The new phase of renewable energy forecasting technology will provide “probabilistic forecasts,” meaning utility managers will be able to make decisions based on high-accuracy predictions of certain weather conditions at a wind farm on the next day. Forecasts will focus on wind “ramp” events, ice and extreme temperatures, and distributed solar.
Anticipating Wind Ramp Events


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