The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded $646,661 to the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) for a research project designed to improve the state grid operator's ability to forecast wind energy generation.
The project will deploy atmospheric remote sensing equipment – light detecting and ranging (LIDAR) sensors and radiometers – at selected wind farm sites in the Tehachapi wind resource area in Southern California. The project will identify the best equipment to be used for long-term data collection and the locations for the equipment.
According to the CEC, the goal of the project is to help produce the most accurate data that the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) can use for its short-term wind forecasts (i.e., generally those within a six-hour time frame).
The research is focused on the Tehachapi area because of an anticipated expansion of wind generation, with about 4 GW of new capacity projected for installation within the next five to 10 years. Such a large percentage of California's wind power being generated in a relatively small region raises concerns about large changes in wind power generation because of weather and the related power grid management issues, the CEC explains.
‘Improving the forecasts will help system operators deal with the intermittent nature of wind-based electric power and aid in making wind power work as an integral part of the grid,’ says Energy Commission Chairman Dr. Robert Weisenmiller.
Funding for the project will come from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research program. UC Davis and its research partners are providing an additional $76,986 in cost sharing.
The project originated at the request of the CAISO, which assembled the collaborative effort. Southern California Edison, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and UC San Diego are also involved in the project. This project is the companion to a $398,662 award that the CEC approved last month for UC Davis. That project calls for UC Davis to develop a forecasting tool that CAISO can use to respond to sudden changes in wind power production.