Town Hall Meeting: What do Meteorologists Need to Know about the Energy Industry -- and Vice Versa – to Integrate Weather-Driven Renewable Energy into the Electric Grid?

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Monday, 24 January 2011: 7:00 PM-8:30 PM
615-617 (Washington State Convention Center)

As the nation weighs the benefits and costs of various energy sources, and states adopt renewable portfolio standards, electric system operators face significant challenges to integrating weather-driven energy sources. The variable nature of wind and solar energy requires new information and practices for operating our nation’s electric grid. System operators must constantly square the energy supply and demand within a given balancing authority. To ensure a reliable source of electricity, utility companies maintain dispatchable energy reserves, such as coal and natural gas, on-line and running, but at reduced operating levels. Without accurate forecasts of weather-driven renewable energy production, utility companies must maintain an excess number of fossil fuel plants running to ensure it can meet energy demand. More accurate weather forecasts are needed to help utility companies know with greater precision when, where, and how much wind or solar energy can be generated to balance the energy supply with demand. More accurate weather forecasts are required to obtain the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and financial savings derived as a result of using less fossil fuel. Several recent grid integration studies assess the costs, benefits, impacts, and challenges of using larger and larger amounts of variable energy resources, such as wind and solar energy. These reports find that market changes and improved forecasts, in addition to improved transmission resources, are needed to accommodate increasing amounts of renewable energy. Looking to the future, long-term predictions of renewable energy resources are needed to support sound decision making concerning the siting of renewable energy projects and for long-range market planning. In addition, the possibility of using waves, tides, and currents (marine and hydrokinetic energy) and offshore wind to produce electricity calls for increased understanding of these resources and how they could be used in an environmentally sound way. New observations are required to achieve the advances in predictions across a range of time scales to support renewable energy development. This Town Hall Meeting will build upon the work done at several AMS meetings in the last two years and the efforts of the Commission on the Weather and Climate Enterprise and its Renewable Energy Subcommittee to help identify appropriate roles for private industry, academia, and government sectors in developing renewable energy. Effective collaboration among these sectors is essential for integrating large amounts of weather-driven renewable resources into the nation’s energy supply. For additional information, please contact Melinda Marquis (e-mail: Melinda.Marquis@noaa.gov).
Hosts: (Joint between the Town Hall Meetings; and the Second Conference on Weather, Climate, and the New Energy Economy )
Papers:
  7:15 PM
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