DOES PAST CLIMATOLOGY GUIDE THE FUTURE?
Accurate wind resource assessments are crucial in the development of wind power projects. However, to estimate future wind yield it is common practice to rely on historical observational data, with an assumption that past variability will also represent the future. As the climate system experiences considerable change, this assumption makes it challenging to anticipate events that have never happened before, predict extreme events (such as wind droughts), or account for the changing frequency of climate modes such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Annular Mode (SAM).
The accurate forecasting of wind resource variability therefore presents a significant challenge for the renewable energy industry, with historical conditions becoming far less useful in describing future events, leading to wide errors in seasonal and long-term investment and risk management decisions.
Local-scale seasonal and long-term climate forecasts
To solve the limitation of relying on historical wind observational data, climate forecast models have proven to be informative in describing long-term change in the atmospheric system (such as air mass and Mean Sea Level Pressure patterns), and the frequency of ENSO and SAM. However, considerable post-processing is required to apply outcomes at a finer spatial resolution, tuning the model to a region of interest to account for smaller-scale processes.
Our EnerRISK (energy variability risk) tool applies advanced downscaling and weather pattern clustering techniques to deduce local-scale information for temperature, wind speed and solar irradiance from large scale pressure patterns, from months to years into the future. By linking weather regimes to seasonal and long-term climate predictions, our ‘regime-based approach’ establishes a more skillful forecast of climate variability at the local-scale, providing decision makers with a robust alternative to climatology, and the assumption that that past climatology will continue to repeat.
WIND FORECASTS & RISK ASSESSMENT
Our wind forecasting services fill a key gap in the analysis of seasonal (7 months) to inter-annual (30 years) wind variability – and investment and operational risks – at the project and system level. Key applications include:
- Long-term wind risk (and opportunity) assessment to inform prospecting.
- Bankable wind outlook for a location and region, informing future changes in wind conditions in support of capital decisions.
- Forecast anomalies in wind production, such as the potential magnitude and length of low-wind periods, informing short-term trading and risk management decisions.
- Portfolio risk (and resilience) assessments, based on aggregate exposure to wind volume risks and regional weather dependence.
- Energy storage opportunities, such as the impact of weather patterns on wholesale prices, energy shifting and arbitrage opportunities based on specific wind patterns and future conditions.
- System-level analysis, such as the impact of weather patterns on wind ramping and supply fluctuations, spot price variability, spatial and temporal meteorological dependence (i.e. wind correlations, geographic smoothing, REZ analysis, inter-connector flows, etc).
Click below to request more information about our long-term wind forecasting services and outlooks for the National Electricity Market.