INESC Porto develops Wind Power Forecasting for the US Argonne National Laboratory
US Government strengthens investment in Renewable Energies
In an attempt to minimise the potential risks – such as blackouts – of USA’s growing dependence on renewable energies, Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, under the Department of Energy (DoE) of the US Government, has requested INESC Porto to develop a wind power forecasting model for the country. The platform for wind power prediction that INESC Porto is proposing will be linked to a decision support methodology for network operators that will help reduce wind power production and system operation costs. The project started last December and will end in September 2010.
An unexpected lack of wind in the US can cause blackouts. This is one problem that many regions in the United States of America may face on the short and medium term as a consequence of the country’s growing dependence on renewable energies, particularly wind power. Even though USA’s position at an international context regarding renewable energies is still incipient, the development of wind power in that country is the highest in the world. Due to that fact, the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) of the network of Laboratories of the US Department of Energy has requested INESC Porto to develop a platform to forecast wind power in the USA. This was carried out in the context of a programme that finances several American laboratories in the development of the national capacities regarding renewable energies, especially wind power. With this project, it will be possible to achieve more precise wind power forecasting in a timeline that can go up to three days. Errors in wind power predictions “can have more severe consequences in the USA than in any European country” due to the country’s temperate and subtropical climate and local geography, as was explained by Vladimiro Miranda, director of INESC Porto and coordinator of the project. Vladimiro Miranda is an IEEE Fellow, the maximum degree awarded by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), a worldwide acknowledged science and electrical engineering institution.
It is expected that a less uncertain wind forecasting in a given location will have a considerable impact on the North-American electricity industry, thus allowing a reduction of wind power prices in the United States. Horizon Wind Energy, a company of the Portuguese EDP group with an increasingly larger presence in the US, was invited by ANL - Argonne National Laboratory – to contribute as an observer and as supplier of real data.
The presence of European experts in the project was a crucial element for the approval of ANL’s proposal. INESC Porto has an experience of more than 15 years in this area, having developed projects in Greek Islands, such as Crete, in the Azores, as well as other wind power generation projects in Europe. In Portugal, the project for a company consortium that includes Enernova of EDP Renováveis is almost concluded. The project, where INESC Porto played an important role, aimed at the constitution of a wind power dispatch centre.
Over the last years, INESC Porto has also been a consultant for energy distribution companies in the Iberian Peninsula, such as REN – Redes Energéticas Nacionais and REE – Red Eléctrica de España. The aim has been to determine the security of energy supply until 2025, taking the increasing penetration of wind power into consideration. Most recently, INESC Porto has been cooperating with the Hungarian Energy Office for the definition of wind power penetration in that country.
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