A new weather forecasting service that aims to improve the accuracy of wind power output predictions was launched today, by the UK's meteorological service, the Met Office.
Wind Production Forecast Plus makes greater use than earlier services, of on-site wind speed observations, increasing forecast accuracy. It combines site observations with surface data and site-specific modelling to produce half-hourly predictions, up to six days ahead.
"Forecasting power output has always been important, but now that more wind power is on the electricity system, it is becoming critical," the Met Office's head of renewables, Rob Harrison, told Windpower Offshore. "Up to 70% of error in power output forecasts from wind farms is dependent on weather conditions," he added, making it essential for utilities and consultancies to be able to access better predictive tools.
The Met Office also offers a Site Wind Index, which provides data on 30 years of hourly wind speeds for specific sites and heights. It can be used to underpin low-wind insurance contracts.