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NOAA to Demonstrate Feasibility of Enhanced Short-Term Wind Forecasts for Renewable Energy

September 21, 2010

wind turbines
Photo Courtesy: Sandia National Laboratories

On September 13, 2010, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced plans to fund five projects totaling $5 million to support the development of wind energy. Researchers from the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), the Air Resources Laboratory, and the National Weather Service are members of a NOAA team that will partner with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, private industry and universities on two of the funded projects that will address enhancement of short-term wind forecasting. NOAA's role includes deployment of advanced atmospheric measuring systems, and assimilation of data into the ESRL Global Systems Division's High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) weather forecast model. This data will help improve short-term turbine-level wind forecasts for electric utility operations. Planning has begun for a one-year field experiment that will begin in the Spring of 2011.

In recent years, wind energy has become a significant component in providing power across the U.S. Successful integration of wind power into traditional electric power systems is dependent on atmospheric observations and wind forecasts. Over the past year, NOAA has collaborated with DOE to conceptualize a research program for improving wind plant power forecast accuracy through enhanced wind forecasts.

This effort represents the first time that NOAA is collaborating with the renewable energy industry and DOE to address the increased national need for better weather information to support renewable energy, and to help reduce carbon emissions.

Contact: Jim Wilczak