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27 April 2010

How to predict wind energy output

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Andrew Williams investigates the new technologies that are making it possible for wind farm operators to predict how much power they will produce

As the wind power industry expands, the ability to accurately predict the output from wind farms is becoming increasingly important.

Not only are wind forecasting tools essential to help ensure a wind farm runs efficiently, they are also vital during the development stage to help firms better determine the economic viability of projects before they start looking for investment.

For wind farm operators, robust forecasting models are a key way of handling variability and uncertainty in power generation and are essential for improving operations and maintenance planning, while also reducing health and safety risks. In addition, they play an important role in enabling operators to effectively schedule and sell power into the electricity market, helping energy companies to manage their generation portfolio and balance output on a regional or national scale.

Sound models allow energy analysts and traders to produce more accurate wind power forecasts and predict electricity prices, leading to more informed strategic decisions on the trading markets. For investors, better forecasting brings higher revenues, and is an important source of competitive advantage for both debt and equity investors who have previously invested in underperforming wind assets


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