Thursday, 15 January 2009: 12:15 PM
Undergraduate forecasting and nowcasting for a major urban public utility
Room 124A (Phoenix Convention Center)
Public Service Electric & Gas Company (PSE&G) is the largest public utility in New Jersey, providing services to several urban areas, such as Newark, New Brunswick, Trenton, and the Philadelphia suburbs. The weather can have a dramatic impact on energy demands given this dense population. As such, Rutgers University and PSE&G have developed a cooperative relationship to provide accurate, detailed, daily weather forecasts to help PSE&G prepare for adverse weather. Most importantly, Rutgers forecasters provide PSE&G officials with weather alerts specifically tailored to PSE&G's needs and concerns. In return, PSE&G provides Rutgers undergraduates who participate in the program with the unique opportunity to forecast for a high profile utilities company, in a real world environment. The experience is complete with deadline driven work, intra-forecaster cooperation, and all of the diverse weather situations New Jersey has to offer a forecaster. Forecasters have the opportunity to earn academic credit through the Cooperative Education Program at the Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. The origins of the unique PSE&G/Rutgers relationship, the daily routine of a PSE&G/Rutgers forecaster, the challenge of forecasting in an urban environment, the use of high-resolution model forecasts run at Rutgers, and the development of an experimental Power Plant Damage Forecast Model being developed at Rutgers will be discussed.