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NASA products to enhance energy utility load forecasting

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Wednesday, 26 January 2011
NASA products to enhance energy utility load forecasting
Erica Zell, Battelle, Arlington, VA; and P. Stackhouse Jr., G. Lough, J. Engel-Cox, A. Carpenter, G. J. Jedlovec, R. Homer, and S. Bliley

Existing load forecasting tools rely upon historical load and weather, and forecasted weather to predict load within energy utility service areas. Microclimates and weather events such as stalled fronts have proved particularly challenging for load forecasting. The shortcomings of load forecasts are often the result of weather data that is not at a fine enough spatial resolution to capture local-scale weather events. This project aims to improve the performance of load forecasting tools through the integration of high-resolution, weather-related NASA Earth Science Data, such as temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed. The result of enhanced performance of these load forecasting tools is energy conservation and cost savings to energy users. The project is led by Battelle, in collaboration with ABB (formerly Ventyx), the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center, and NASA Langley Research Center. The four utilities participating in operational testing are Avista Utilities, NationalFuel, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, and Arkansas Electric Cooperative. Operational results comparing load forecasts with and without NASA model outputs have been generated since March 2010. In addition, Battelle is currently consulting with utilities to document their information needs for long-term planning, in light of climate change and regulatory impacts. The project will conclude in 2011 with transitioning documented improvements from the inclusion of NASA data for sustained use by energy utilities nationwide in a variety of load forecasting tools.