New Wind and Solar Forecasting System Announced
IBM today announced an advanced power and weather modeling technology that will help utilities in the world increase the reliability of renewable energy resources. The solution combines weather prediction and analytics to accurately forecast the availability of wind power and solar energy.
This will enable utilities to integrate more renewable energy into the power grid, helping to reduce carbon emissions while significantly improving clean energy output for consumers and businesses.
The solution, named “Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting” (HyRef) uses weather modeling capabilities, advanced cloud imaging technology and sky-facing cameras to track cloud movements near real time, while sensors on the turbines monitor wind speed, temperature and direction.
When combined with analytics technology, the data-assimilation based solution can produce accurate local weather forecasts within a wind farm as far as one month in advance, or in 15-minute increments.
Additionally, HyRef can predict the performance of each individual wind turbine and estimate the amount of generated renewable energy by utilizing these local weather forecasts. This level of insight will enable utilities to better manage the variable nature of wind and solar, and more accurately forecast the amount of power that can be redirected into the power grid or stored. It will also allow energy organizations to integrate other conventional sources such as coal and natural gas.
“Utilities around the world are employing a host of strategies to integrate new renewable energy resources into their operating systems in order to reach a baseline goal of a 25 percent renewable energy mix globally by 2025,” said Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, president and CEO of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE). “The weather modeling and forecasting data generated from HyRef will significantly improve this process and in turn, put us one step closer to maximizing the full potential of renewable resources.”
State Grid Jibei Electricity Power Co. Limited, a subsidiary company of the State Grid Corp. of China, is using HyRef to integrate renewable energy into the grid. This initiative led by Jibei Electricity Power Co. is phase one of the Zhangbei 670MW demonstration project, the world’s largest renewable energy initiative that combines wind and solar power, energy storage and transmission. This project contributes to China’s five-year plan to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.
By using the IBM wind forecasting technology, phase one of the Zhangbei project aims to increase the integration of renewable power generation by 10 percent. This amount of additional energy can power roughly more than 14,000 homes. The efficient use of generated energy allows the utility to reduce wind and solar curtailment while analytics provides the needed intelligence to enhance grid operations.
“Applying analytics and harnessing big data will allow utilities to tackle the intermittent nature of renewable energy and forecast power production from solar and wind, in a way that has never been done before,” said Brad Gammons, general manager IBM's Global Energy and Utilities Industry. “We have developed an intelligent system that combines weather and power forecasting to increase system availability and optimize power grid performance.”
This project builds upon another IBM smarter analytics initiative at Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s manufacturer of wind power turbines. Vestas, together with IBM’s big data analytics and supercomputing technology, is able to strategically place wind turbines based on petabytes of data from weather reporters, tidal phases, sensors, satellite images, deforestation maps, and weather modeling research. This insight cannot only deliver improvements in energy generation but also reduce maintenance and operational costs over the life of the project.
The Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecaster represents advancements in weather modeling technology, stemming from other innovations such as Deep Thunder. Developed by IBM, Deep Thunder provides high-resolution, micro-forecasts for weather in a region – ranging from a metropolitan area up to an entire state – with calculations as fine as every square kilometer. When coupled with business data, it can help businesses and governments tailor services, change routes and deploy equipment-to minimize the effects of major weather events by reducing costs, improving service and even saving lives.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.