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Title: A Public-Private-Acadmic Partnership to Advance Solar Power Forecasting

Abstract

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is pleased to have led a partnership to advance the state-of-the-science of solar power forecasting by designing, developing, building, deploying, testing, and assessing the SunCast™ Solar Power Forecasting System. The project has included cutting edge research, testing in several geographically- and climatologically-diverse high penetration solar utilities and Independent System Operators (ISOs), and wide dissemination of the research results to raise the bar on solar power forecasting technology. The partners include three other national laboratories, six universities, and industry partners. This public-private-academic team has worked in concert to perform use-inspired research to advance solar power forecasting through cutting-edge research to advance both the necessary forecasting technologies and the metrics for evaluating them. The project has culminated in a year-long, full-scale demonstration of provide irradiance and power forecasts to utilities and ISOs to use in their operations. The project focused on providing elements of a value chain, beginning with the weather that causes a deviation from clear sky irradiance and progresses through monitoring and observations, modeling, forecasting, dissemination and communication of the forecasts, interpretation of the forecast, and through decision-making, which produces outcomes that have an economic value. The system has been evaluated using metricsmore » developed specifically for this project, which has provided rich information on model and system performance. Research was accomplished on the very short range (0-6 hours) Nowcasting system as well as on the longer term (6-72 hour) forecasting system. The shortest range forecasts are based on observations in the field. The shortest range system, built by Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and based on Total Sky Imagers (TSIs) is TSICast, which operates on the shortest time scale with a latency of only a few minutes and forecasts that currently go out to about 15 min. This project has facilitated research in improving the hardware and software so that the new high definition cameras deployed at multiple nearby locations allow discernment of the clouds at varying levels and advection according to the winds observed at those levels. Improvements over “smart persistence” are about 29% for even these very short forecasts. StatCast is based on pyranometer data measured at the site as well as concurrent meteorological observations and forecasts. StatCast is based on regime-dependent artificial intelligence forecasting techniques and has been shown to improve on “smart persistence” forecasts by 15-50%. A second category of short-range forecasting systems employ satellite imagery and use that information to discern clouds and their motion, allowing them to project the clouds, and the resulting blockage of irradiance, in time. CIRACast (the system produced by the Cooperative Institute for Atmospheric Research [CIRA] at Colorado State University) was already one of the more advanced cloud motion systems, which is the reason that team was brought to this project. During the project timeframe, the CIRA team was able to advance cloud shadowing, parallax removal, and implementation of better advecting winds at different altitudes. CIRACast shows generally a 25-40% improvement over Smart Persistence between sunrise and approximately 1600 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) . A second satellite-based system, MADCast (Multi-sensor Advective Diffusive foreCast system), assimilates data from multiple satellite imagers and profilers to assimilate a fully three-dimensional picture of the cloud into the dynamic core of WRF. During 2015, MADCast (provided at least 70% improvement over Smart Persistence, with most of that skill being derived during partly cloudy conditions. That allows advection of the clouds via the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model dynamics directly. After WRF-Solar™ showed initial success, it was also deployed in nowcasting mode with coarser runs out to 6 hours made hourly. It provided improvements on the order of 50-60% over Smart Persistence for forecasts up to 1600 UTC. The advantages of WRF-Solar-Nowcasting and MADCast were then blended to develop the new MAD-WRF model that incorporates the most important features of each of those models, both assimilating satellite cloud fields and using WRF-So far physics to develop and dissipate clouds. MAE improvements for MAD-WRF for forecasts from 3-6 hours are improved over WRF-Solar-Now by 20%. While all the Nowcasting system components by themselves provide improvement over Smart Persistence, the largest benefit is derived when they are smartly blended together by the Nowcasting Integrator to produce an integrated forecast. The development of WRF-Solar™ under this project has provided the first numerical weather prediction (NWP) model specifically designed to meet the needs of irradiance forecasting. The first augmentation improved the solar tracking algorithm to account for deviations associated with the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit and the obliquity of the Earth. Second, WRF-Solar™ added the direct normal irradiance (DNI) and diffuse (DIF) components from the radiation parameterization to the model output. Third, efficient parameterizations were implemented to either interpolate the irradiance in between calls to the expensive radiative transfer parameterization, or to use a fast radiative transfer code that avoids computing three-dimensional heating rates but provides the surface irradiance. Fourth, a new parameterization was developed to improve the representation of absorption and scattering of radiation by aerosols (aerosol direct effect). A fifth advance is that the aerosols now interact with the cloud microphysics, altering the cloud evolution and radiative properties, an effect that has been traditionally only implemented in atmospheric computationally costly chemistry models. A sixth development accounts for the feedbacks that sub-grid scale clouds produce in shortwave irradiance as implemented in a shallow cumulus parameterization Finally, WRF-Solar™ also allows assimilation of infrared irradiances from satellites to determine the three dimensional cloud field, allowing for an improved initialization of the cloud field that increases the performance of short-range forecasts. We find that WRF-Solar™ can improve clear sky irradiance prediction by 15-80% over a standard version of WRF, depending on location and cloud conditions. In a formal comparison to the NAM baseline, WRF-Solar™ showed improvements in the Day-Ahead forecast of 22-42%. The SunCast™ system requires substantial software engineering to blend all of the new model components as well as existing publically available NWP model runs. To do this we use an expert system for the Nowcasting blender and the Dynamic Integrated foreCast (DICast®) system for the NWP models. These two systems are then blended, we use an empirical power conversion method to convert the irradiance predictions to power, then apply an analog ensemble (AnEn) approach to further tune the forecast as well as to estimate its uncertainty. The AnEn module decreased RMSE (root mean squared error) by 17% over the blended SunCast™ power forecasts and provided skill in the probabilistic forecast with a Brier Skill Score of 0.55. In addition, we have also developed a Gridded Atmospheric Forecast System (GRAFS) in parallel, leveraging cost share funds. An economic evaluation based on Production Cost Modeling in the Public Service Company of Colorado showed that the observed 50% improvement in forecast accuracy will save their customers $819,200 with the projected MW deployment for 2024. Using econometrics, NCAR has scaled this savings to a national level and shown that an annual expected savings for this 50% forecast error reduction ranges from $11M in 2015 to $43M expected in 2040 with increased solar deployment. This amounts to a $455M discounted savings over the 26 year period of analysis.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]
  1. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), Boulder, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
Contributing Org.:
National Center for Atmospheric Research; Colorado State University; Pennsylvania State University; University of Washington; Brookhaven National Laboratory; National Renewable Energy Laboratoy; University of Hawaii
OSTI Identifier:
1408392
Report Number(s):
DE-EE0006016
DOE Contract Number:  
EE0006016
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Related Information: 2. Haupt, S.E., B. Kosovic, T. Jensen, J. Lee, P. Jimenez, J. Lazo, J. Cowie, T. McCandless, J. Pearson, G. Weiner, S. Alessandrini, L. Delle Monache, D. Yu, Z. Peng, D. Huang, J. Heiser, S. Yoo, P. Kalb, S. Miller, M. Rogers, and L. Hinkleman, 2016: The SunCast Solar Power Forecasting System: The Results of the Public-Private-Academic Partnership to Advance Solar Power Forecasting. NCAR Technical Report TN-526+STR, 307 pp, doi:10.5065/D6N58JR2.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; Solar power forecasting; Sun4Cast; WRF-Solar; MADCast; DICast; Concensus forecasting; solar power

Citation Formats

Haupt, Sue Ellen. A Public-Private-Acadmic Partnership to Advance Solar Power Forecasting. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1408392.
Haupt, Sue Ellen. A Public-Private-Acadmic Partnership to Advance Solar Power Forecasting. United States. doi:10.2172/1408392.
Haupt, Sue Ellen. Tue . "A Public-Private-Acadmic Partnership to Advance Solar Power Forecasting". United States. doi:10.2172/1408392. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1408392.
@article{osti_1408392,
title = {A Public-Private-Acadmic Partnership to Advance Solar Power Forecasting},
author = {Haupt, Sue Ellen},
abstractNote = {The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is pleased to have led a partnership to advance the state-of-the-science of solar power forecasting by designing, developing, building, deploying, testing, and assessing the SunCast™ Solar Power Forecasting System. The project has included cutting edge research, testing in several geographically- and climatologically-diverse high penetration solar utilities and Independent System Operators (ISOs), and wide dissemination of the research results to raise the bar on solar power forecasting technology. The partners include three other national laboratories, six universities, and industry partners. This public-private-academic team has worked in concert to perform use-inspired research to advance solar power forecasting through cutting-edge research to advance both the necessary forecasting technologies and the metrics for evaluating them. The project has culminated in a year-long, full-scale demonstration of provide irradiance and power forecasts to utilities and ISOs to use in their operations. The project focused on providing elements of a value chain, beginning with the weather that causes a deviation from clear sky irradiance and progresses through monitoring and observations, modeling, forecasting, dissemination and communication of the forecasts, interpretation of the forecast, and through decision-making, which produces outcomes that have an economic value. The system has been evaluated using metrics developed specifically for this project, which has provided rich information on model and system performance. Research was accomplished on the very short range (0-6 hours) Nowcasting system as well as on the longer term (6-72 hour) forecasting system. The shortest range forecasts are based on observations in the field. The shortest range system, built by Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and based on Total Sky Imagers (TSIs) is TSICast, which operates on the shortest time scale with a latency of only a few minutes and forecasts that currently go out to about 15 min. This project has facilitated research in improving the hardware and software so that the new high definition cameras deployed at multiple nearby locations allow discernment of the clouds at varying levels and advection according to the winds observed at those levels. Improvements over “smart persistence” are about 29% for even these very short forecasts. StatCast is based on pyranometer data measured at the site as well as concurrent meteorological observations and forecasts. StatCast is based on regime-dependent artificial intelligence forecasting techniques and has been shown to improve on “smart persistence” forecasts by 15-50%. A second category of short-range forecasting systems employ satellite imagery and use that information to discern clouds and their motion, allowing them to project the clouds, and the resulting blockage of irradiance, in time. CIRACast (the system produced by the Cooperative Institute for Atmospheric Research [CIRA] at Colorado State University) was already one of the more advanced cloud motion systems, which is the reason that team was brought to this project. During the project timeframe, the CIRA team was able to advance cloud shadowing, parallax removal, and implementation of better advecting winds at different altitudes. CIRACast shows generally a 25-40% improvement over Smart Persistence between sunrise and approximately 1600 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) . A second satellite-based system, MADCast (Multi-sensor Advective Diffusive foreCast system), assimilates data from multiple satellite imagers and profilers to assimilate a fully three-dimensional picture of the cloud into the dynamic core of WRF. During 2015, MADCast (provided at least 70% improvement over Smart Persistence, with most of that skill being derived during partly cloudy conditions. That allows advection of the clouds via the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model dynamics directly. After WRF-Solar™ showed initial success, it was also deployed in nowcasting mode with coarser runs out to 6 hours made hourly. It provided improvements on the order of 50-60% over Smart Persistence for forecasts up to 1600 UTC. The advantages of WRF-Solar-Nowcasting and MADCast were then blended to develop the new MAD-WRF model that incorporates the most important features of each of those models, both assimilating satellite cloud fields and using WRF-So far physics to develop and dissipate clouds. MAE improvements for MAD-WRF for forecasts from 3-6 hours are improved over WRF-Solar-Now by 20%. While all the Nowcasting system components by themselves provide improvement over Smart Persistence, the largest benefit is derived when they are smartly blended together by the Nowcasting Integrator to produce an integrated forecast. The development of WRF-Solar™ under this project has provided the first numerical weather prediction (NWP) model specifically designed to meet the needs of irradiance forecasting. The first augmentation improved the solar tracking algorithm to account for deviations associated with the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit and the obliquity of the Earth. Second, WRF-Solar™ added the direct normal irradiance (DNI) and diffuse (DIF) components from the radiation parameterization to the model output. Third, efficient parameterizations were implemented to either interpolate the irradiance in between calls to the expensive radiative transfer parameterization, or to use a fast radiative transfer code that avoids computing three-dimensional heating rates but provides the surface irradiance. Fourth, a new parameterization was developed to improve the representation of absorption and scattering of radiation by aerosols (aerosol direct effect). A fifth advance is that the aerosols now interact with the cloud microphysics, altering the cloud evolution and radiative properties, an effect that has been traditionally only implemented in atmospheric computationally costly chemistry models. A sixth development accounts for the feedbacks that sub-grid scale clouds produce in shortwave irradiance as implemented in a shallow cumulus parameterization Finally, WRF-Solar™ also allows assimilation of infrared irradiances from satellites to determine the three dimensional cloud field, allowing for an improved initialization of the cloud field that increases the performance of short-range forecasts. We find that WRF-Solar™ can improve clear sky irradiance prediction by 15-80% over a standard version of WRF, depending on location and cloud conditions. In a formal comparison to the NAM baseline, WRF-Solar™ showed improvements in the Day-Ahead forecast of 22-42%. The SunCast™ system requires substantial software engineering to blend all of the new model components as well as existing publically available NWP model runs. To do this we use an expert system for the Nowcasting blender and the Dynamic Integrated foreCast (DICast®) system for the NWP models. These two systems are then blended, we use an empirical power conversion method to convert the irradiance predictions to power, then apply an analog ensemble (AnEn) approach to further tune the forecast as well as to estimate its uncertainty. The AnEn module decreased RMSE (root mean squared error) by 17% over the blended SunCast™ power forecasts and provided skill in the probabilistic forecast with a Brier Skill Score of 0.55. In addition, we have also developed a Gridded Atmospheric Forecast System (GRAFS) in parallel, leveraging cost share funds. An economic evaluation based on Production Cost Modeling in the Public Service Company of Colorado showed that the observed 50% improvement in forecast accuracy will save their customers $819,200 with the projected MW deployment for 2024. Using econometrics, NCAR has scaled this savings to a national level and shown that an annual expected savings for this 50% forecast error reduction ranges from $11M in 2015 to $43M expected in 2040 with increased solar deployment. This amounts to a $455M discounted savings over the 26 year period of analysis.},
doi = {10.2172/1408392},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {4}
}