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Solar and Wind Energy Forecasting and Projection

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Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Solar and Wind Energy Forecasting and Projection
Quanhua (Mark) Liu, NOAA/NESDIS, Camp Sprins, MD; and F. Weng

The greatest difficulties for the energy industry to utilize solar and wind resources are in determining optimal operation sites, knowing energy availability in advance for managing a stable electricity grid, and predicting future changes in solar and wind energy distribution. We analyze a decadal mean solar and wind energy distribution. The solar energy distribution shows areas of plenty solar energy including southwest of U.S. and western China. The solar radiation over deserts and bare soils at low latitudes is rich. For example, the Qinghai-Tibet plateau may serve as a vast solar energy base for China. The rich wind resource areas include western China, U.S. great plain and continental divide, and northern Europe. The offshore wind power is much rich. The wind energy resource over Taiwan Strait is very rich, and it could be beneficial to the both sides of the Strait. We will present a perspective of global solar and wind energy forecasting. There is no operational forecasting for solar and wind energy, but can predicate, to a certain degree, solar and wind energy indirectly, based on weather forecasting. We use the NCEP global forecasting data to estimate the accuracy of predicting solar and wind power. Our results show that 2 ~ 3 days wind and solar energy forecasting would be useful for scheduling applications and storage of solar and wind energy, a practical approach to maintaining uninterrupted solar and wind-generated electricity. Since solar and wind energy depends on weather conditions, climate change will affect solar and wind energy distribution in the future. We analyzed 61 years of the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data and 45 years of the ECMWF reanalysis data. Both reanalysis data show same tendency in global wind energy. This result may help policy makers and industries plan for future solar and energy development. We have developed a web-based tool with which anyone can find solar and wind energy amounts at any location in the world. The tool is available at www.renewableenergyst.org.