Vaisala, a provider of environmental and industrial measurement based in Helsinki, Finland; Xcel Energy; and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have announced a partnership on a wind observing and forecasting project in the U.S.
The goal of the pilot is to explore the use of a new wind observing and forecasting system in Xcel Energy's wind power generation. The system will provide decision-making support for balancing wind power with traditional fossil-fuel generation, while minimizing costs and improving reliability. A primary focus of the effort is to develop technologies that will better anticipate changes in wind energy output from wind farms, according to Vaisala.
Vaisala is providing Xcel Energy with surface weather stations, radar wind profiling capability, National Lightning Detection Network data, as well as installation and operating services for a 12-month pilot program. The wind observation network will be located around wind farms in Colorado that total 400 MW of installed capacity. The network is expected to become operational in November.
NCAR has been contracted to refine a wind forecasting system that focuses on wind ramp detection for the project. Vaisala's observation data will be integrated with the forecast information in a decision support tool developed by Vaisala.