The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says it has entered data-sharing agreements with Iberdrola Renewables and NextEra Energy Resources. Under the agreements, the companies will provide weather observations and wind-speed data collected at their wind farms.
Since 2011, Xcel Energy has provided similar data to NOAA, the agency says.
NOAA will use these weather observations in operational model forecasts produced by NOAA's National Weather Service. Wind data at these heights are of great interest to many industries and researchers involved in renewable energy, aviation and air quality, NOAA notes.
While the observations are business-sensitive and will not be redistributed outside of NOAA, the agency's scientists will use the data to validate and improve weather models at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory and at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction.
"We appreciate this opportunity to work with [the wind] industry and are eager to start similar data-sharing agreements with other industry partners," says Kathryn D. Sullivan, assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction and NOAA deputy administrator. "Everyone who uses weather information will benefit from these additional data."
"When it comes to observations, you can never have enough," notes Jerry Crescenti, director of meteorology at Iberdrola Renewables. "Hopefully, other wind energy companies will consider securely providing their weather observations to NOAA to improve the foundational forecasts for all in the industry."