The U.S. Department of Energy has announced funding of up to $6 million over two years to improve short-term wind energy forecasting. The funding will support projects that enhance the ability of utilities and electricity grid operators to forecast when and where generation from wind power will take place, allowing for improved utility operations.
Electricity grid operators depend on accurate wind forecasts to predict and plan for the energy output of wind power plants in their system. By more accurately forecasting wind conditions up to six hours ahead, utilities operators can better predict the power generation of their wind plants, which reduces the cost and increases the reliability of integrating wind energy into the electricity grid. Improved wind forecasting has the potential to achieve substantial savings in annual grid production costs, and these benefits are expected to increase significantly as national wind deployment accelerates. Innovation in this area will help wind and other renewable energy sources meet more and more of the nation’s energy demand.
One to two competitively-selected funding recipient teams will work with DOE and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to deploy atmospheric measurement systems, make their data available for use in advanced weather prediction systems to improve short-term turbine-level wind forecasts, and demonstrate the value of these forecasting improvements for electric utility operations. The recipient teams will include wind plant operators, wind forecasting, and meteorological services companies, electric utility system operators, and research organizations.
DOE will provide $2 million this year to NOAA to fund its technical support of the selected projects and will provide an additional $1 million to the one or two competitively selected awardees. DOE also anticipates providing an additional $3 million in fiscal year 2011 to NOAA and the recipient teams for completing the project. Specifically, NOAA will support the project with research instrumentation, advanced weather modeling, and expertise in meteorology. NOAA will deploy and operate a network of sophisticated atmospheric instrumentation in the region identified and supported by the recipient teams, and incorporate data from this network and other sources into an advanced weather forecast model to provide higher precision wind forecasts, allowing the recipient teams to improve wind plant power forecasts for more economic and reliable utility operations.
The complete Funding Opportunity Announcement can be viewed at the FedConnect Web site.
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