Monday, December 24, 2012

Wind Power Prediction - Previento

Thanks to the new Previento system developed by a German university spin-off, it's now possible to predict not only how much electricity a specific wind farm in Germany will produce but also the total amount of electricity the 20,000 or so wind farms dotted around the country will generate in the coming ten days and with a high level of accuracy. Armed with these predictions, Germany's grid operators can now calculate the amount of additional electricity they will need from other plants to compensate for troughs in wind output and so ensure the expected power demand is covered reliably.

A system that can predict how much electricity is going to be available from wind power for the national grid has become so important in Germany because wind's share of the country's electricity generation is growing all the time, and reshaping the electricity industry. Wind power accounted for 7.2 percent of Germany's total electricity consumption at the end of 2007 with 22,200 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity. According to the German Wind Energy Association (BWE), installed capacity is set to double by 2020 with 45,000 MW installed on land and 10,000 MW offshore. In fact, the BWE estimates that every fourth kilowatt hour of electricity will be coming from wind power within 12 years. Because Previento can give plenty of warning about big deviations and sudden peaks and troughs in wind power output, it also plays a big role in the regional energy markets. The amount of wind power entering the grid impacts electricity prices: the more wind power available, the lower the electricity price becomes. This is because less conventional energy has to be purchased by energy providers for the next few days to cover the expected demand.

The system calculates the amount of wind available at any particular location using a variety of weather models available from multiple weather services. Previento processes this data and combines it with data about the features of local terrain of wind farms, such as the amount of wooded area or the bodies of water around a wind farm to form an accurate estimation of the electricity output at any given time. The system is proving a global hit with interest in it coming from Spain, Scandinavia, America, Canada and Ireland.

The diagram below shows example predictions for the past, present and future.

For more details see

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