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Vestas and Utopus Insights to pilot energy forecasting solutions in Australia

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One way of addressing the challenge of balancing supply and demand from intermittent renewable energy generation is to use advanced forecasting tools to provide predictability, and Vestas has now been awarded funding to develop such a solution in Australia.
Vestas and Utopus Insights to pilot energy forecasting solutions in Australia
Courtesy of Lawrence Murray

In support of Vestas’ efforts to provide forward-looking renewable energy solutions, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced it has awarded funding from its Advancing Renewables Programme for Vestas to develop a new short-term wind energy forecasting solution. The solution will allow ARENA to more accurately forecast energy generation from wind power plants, reduce wind generators’ dispatch uncertainty, and improve system stability by better anticipating supply from renewable sources through accurate weather forecasting.

Such forecasting solutions can also benefit power plant operators’ bottom line by reducing financial penalties for inaccurate forecasts and increase revenue opportunities through making smarter, data-driven decisions about selling energy into spot markets in countries like Australia. Being able to better predict energy generation is a valuable tool in assessing the minute-to-minute value of energy and thus how to achieve maximum revenue for energy when selling into spot markets.

From both the system and power plant view, this forecasting solution is both an important stepping stone to a world where wind and solar energy become the dominant sources of electricity, and a part of Vestas’ efforts to provide a broad array of renewable energy solutions that provide benefits to energy systems as well as to customers.

The solution will be developed by Vestas together with its wholly-owned energy analytics solution provider, Utopus Insights. The solution will improve upon the Australian Wind Energy Forecasting System’s (AWEFS) 5-minute forecast and will be deployed and piloted at Infigen Energy’s Lake Bonney 2 and 3 Wind Farms, two co-located wind farms in South Australia.

“An important challenge in wind and solar power is predicting fluctuations in generation to ensure system stability by balancing the energy supply and demand in the market” explained Peter Cowling, Head of Vestas Australia and New Zealand. “We hope to offer a much more advanced forecasting solution that can reduce generator dispatch uncertainty, lower the operational cost of balancing energy supply and demand, and limit energy price volatility and regulatory complexity. Our solution will help deliver sufficient and reliable energy to the market”.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is responsible for forecasting electricity generation from wind and solar farms across Australia. Incorrect supply forecasts or inability of generators to meet targets can result in power system instability and higher operating costs. Wind and solar farms are penalised for failing to meet required output levels, and conversely can be required to curtail generation to match overly conservative forecasts.

The solution will apply advanced data science techniques including deep learning to high-resolution wind turbine SCADA data, granular short-term hyper-local weather forecasts and meteorological data to deliver greater accuracy in energy forecasts. The solution will utilise Utopus Insights’ proprietary weather forecasting, coupling physical and statistical models with an industry-best 1 km² precision. This is a significant improvement on traditional global weather forecasts, which operate at coarser temporal resolution and 16 km² spatial resolution.

“While it’s true that renewable energy is intermittent, with the right digital intelligence, it is no longer unpredictable” added Chandu Visweswariah, Founding President and CEO at Utopus Insights. “Our solution unlocks the value of renewable energy as a predictable and reliable source of power. Between our deep experience in energy analytics, proprietary hyper-local weather modelling, and Vestas’ massive amount of turbine data, we are using the power of partnership to usher in a new era of energy digitalisation”.

After the 12-month development and trial phase, Vestas will share its learnings from the pilot with the energy industry, focusing on project challenges, learnings, forecast performance and self-forecast benefits for renewable generators and the broader market.

For additional information:

Vestas

Utopus

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