We partner with local electric utilities to create high-resolution weather and power forecasts for the Southwest United States, serving operational forecasts for more than 3 GW of renewable power generation (solar and wind) across Arizona and New Mexico. Accurate forecasts reduce the uncertainty utilities face with these variable generation resources, ultimately enabling the integration of more renewable power onto the grid. Our forecasts facilitate utility participation in the Western Energy Imbalance market and are used by wholesale energy schedulers, grid operators, day-ahead energy marketers, and real-time traders.

An important aspect of our forecasts is that they present not just a single number but a range of outcomes that are derived from multiple runs of a numerical weather prediction model with staggered start times; we run a customized high-resolution (1.8km) WRF ensemble forecast system. The spread of the range of outcomes provides an estimate of the uncertainty of the forecast, which is crucial to predicting power generation from variable energy resources. With the ensemble of forecasts, users can improve energy market trading strategies, schedule more efficient generators, reduce costs, defer maintenance, and optimize the use of battery energy storage systems. You can find more information here.

Interactive forecasts of temperature, precipitation, and other variables are available at https://forecasting.energy.arizona.edu/advi

In addition to forecasting, we’ve also worked with eight utilities in the Southwest as part of the SVERI project to study the long-term impacts of these variable power resources. Find more information here.

Contact Patrick Bunn at ptwbunn@arizona.edu for more information about renewable power forecasting at the University of Arizona.