IBM announced an advanced power and weather modeling technology for the power grid that combines weather prediction and analytics to forecast the availability of wind power and solar energy.
Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting (HyRef) uses weather modeling, cloud imaging technology and sky-facing cameras to track cloud movements, while sensors on the turbines monitor wind speed, temperature and direction. When combined with analytics tools, the data-assimilation based solution can produce local weather forecasts within a wind farm as far as one month in advance, or in 15-minute increments, according to IBM.
By utilizing local weather forecasts, HyRef can predict the performance of each individual wind turbine and estimate the amount of generated renewable energy enabling utilities to better manage the variable nature of wind and solar, and more accurately forecast the amount of power that can be stored or redirected into the power grid.
HyRef will also allow energy organizations to easily 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 Dennis McGinn, president and CEO of the American Council On Renewable Energy. "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."
In China, Jibei Electricity Power Company Limited is using HyRef to integrate renewable energy into the grid.
The initiative led by SG-JBEPC 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.
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, enough to power more than 14,000 homes, according to IBM.
HyRef builds on the earlier IBM Deep Thunder project which 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.
IBM is involved in more than 150 smart grid engagements around the world through the company’s Smarter Planet program.