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.
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere