The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has developed a wind prediction system for Xcel Energy, the power company with the largest wind capacity in the United States. The wind power forecasting system includes advanced modeling capabilities, data assimilation, nowcasting, and statistical post-processing technologies. The system ingests both external model data and observations. NCAR produces a deterministic mesoscale wind forecast of hub height winds on a very fine resolution grid using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, run using the Real Time Four Dimensional Data Assimilation (RTFDDA) system. In addition, a 30 member ensemble system is run to both improve forecast accuracy and provide an indication of forecast uncertainty. The deterministic and ensemble model output plus data from various global and regional models are ingested by NCAR’s Dynamic, Integrated, Forecast System (DICast®), a statistical learning algorithm. DICast® produces forecasts of wind speed for each wind turbine. These wind forecasts are then fed into a power conversion algorithm that has been empirically derived for each Xcel power connection node. In addition, a ramp forecasting technology fine-tunes the capability to accurately predict the time, magnitude, and duration of a ramping event. This basic system has consistently improved Xcel’s ability to optimize the economics of incorporating wind energy into their power system.

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