Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Thursday, February 27, 2020
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IBM Offers Weather Analytics for Wind and Solar 

Hoping to improve the reliability of renewable energy resources and ultimately reduce carbon emissions, IBM is bringing its power and weather modeling technology to the energy sector.

“The solution combines weather prediction and analytics to accurately forecast the availability of wind power and solar energy,” says Michael Valicchi, IBM’s global energy and utility industry leader. With it, he says that utilities should be able to more easily integrate renewable energy sources into the power grid.

Valicchi noted that HyRef can predict wind turbine performance in conjunction with local weather forecasts to optimize their performance, which China’s State Grid Jibei Electricity Power Company Limited is already using as a part of the Zhangbei 670 MW project to combine wind and solar power, energy storage and transmission. to reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

“This level of insight will let utilities better manage the variable nature of wind and solar, and more accurately forecast the amount of power that can be redirected into the power grid or stored,” Valicchi says. “It will also let energy organizations combine other conventional sources such as coal and natural gas.”

The Zhangbei project will take advantage of such wind forecasts to increase renewable power integration by ten percent. While analytics help to enhance the company’s power grid, the utility is also making more efficient use of their wind and solar energy in hopes that it will reduce alternate energy curtailment.

Meanwhile, the project will build on another IBM initiative at Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems, which is combining big data analytics with supercomputing to optimize the position of wind turbines within a farm based on petabytes of data from weather reporters, tidal phases, sensors, satellite images, deforestation maps and weather modeling.

HyRef is also representing weather modeling innovation with Deep Thunder, an IBM tool that zooms in to provide high-resolution micro-forecasts to regions from a single city up to an entire state, with calculations up to every square kilometer. Valicchi experts to see businesses and governments use it in conjunction with their own data to fine-tune their services, routes and equipment deployment during major weather events.

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