In a novel public/private partnership, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is teaming with Xcel Energy to provide detailed weather forecasts to allow the utility to better integrate wind-generated electricity into the power grid. With more accurate and timely reports on wind prediction, the utility will be able to power down their coal and gas-fired plants and increase reliance on wind plants.
NCAR will use a suite of tools and computer models to issue high-resolution forecasts for wind farm sites every three hours. If the prediction system is successful, wind forecasting companies may adopt the technology to help utilities worldwide transition to wind power. To generate the forecasts, NCAR will incorporate observations of current atmospheric conditions from a variety of sources, including satellites, aircraft, weather radars, ground-based weather stations, and even sensors on the wind turbines.
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