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Vestas, others get ARENA funds for self-forecast trial in Australia

Vestas turbines at Australia's Macarthur wind farm. Courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S.

March 18 (Renewables Now) - The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today said it will provide AUD 9.41 million (USD 6.7m/EUR 5.9m) in funding to 11 projects focused on short-term power generation forecasting at large wind and solar parks in Australia.

Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems A/S, together with its energy analytics software unit Utopus Insights, is among the awardees.

The ARENA-backed initiative will help to explore the potential for wind and photovoltaic (PV) power plants to provide their own 5-minute ahead output forecasts into the central dispatch system of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). Different weather forecasting technologies will be tested at existing Australian solar and wind farms part of the National Electricity Market (NEM), including onsite cloud cameras, wind speed radars, Japanese weather satellites, infrared, crunching of Bureau of Meteorology data and machine learning algorithms.

Vestas and Utopus, for example, will be working on a new short-term wind energy forecasting solution, deployed and piloted at Infigen Energy's Lake Bonney 2 and 3 wind parks in South Australia of 159 MW and 39 MW, respectively. The solution will apply advanced data science techniques including deep learning to high-resolution wind turbine SCADA data, granular short-term hyper-local weather forecasts and meteorological data to deliver greater accuracy in energy forecasts.

AEMO is currently responsible for forecasting power generation from wind and solar power plants across the country. When supply forecasts are incorrect or generators are unable to meet targets, the stability of the power system is affected and operating costs increase. Wind and solar farms face penalties for failing to meet the set output levels or may be required to curtail generation to match overly conservative forecasts.

“Working with AEMO, we’re supporting these trials to help avoid generators being unfairly penalised for inaccurate forecasts while also supporting system security by better matching demand with anticipated supply from variable renewable generators,” said Darren Miller, chief executive of ARENA.

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for almost nine years. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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