Because of a wide recognition within the wind energy and electric utility operations communities that inadequate wind energy forecasting skill is placing a strain on the effective integration of wind energy onto the nation's electrical grids, The U.S. Department of Energy has implemented a joint research program with NOAA and private industry to improve wind energy forecasts. The key elements of this program are 1) a one-year deployment of extensive meteorological observing systems in a region with significant wind energy production; 2) assimilation of these observations into the NOAA High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) Model, run over the CONUS at 3 km resolution; and 3) conversion of wind forecasts to wind power forecasts, and evaluation of the benefits of these improved power forecasts on electrical utility operations. In this presentation we will describe the technical details of this research program. The planned timeline for the program includes instrument site selection and deployment beginning in autumn of 2010, and the one year data collection period to occur starting in mid-2011. In particular we will describe: • The region selected and local meteorological forecast problems • Instrumentation deployed, including a NOAA/DOE network of nine 915 MHz wind profiling radars, two 449 MHz wind profiling radars, six sodars, one wind profiling lidar, surface meteorological stations, and industry supported observations. • Data acquisition and quality control procedures. • Assimilation of the new observations into the HRRR model. • Conversion of improved wind forecasts to power forecasts. • Methods for determining the operational and economic impact of the improved power forecasts on the electric grid system. • NWS/NCEP plans for assimilation of industry tower data into the NAM model. (Note: several private industry co-authors will be added to the paper before the Conference, once DOE has made public by September 2010 its selection of the industry partners in this program).
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