IBM technology could deliver 47% boost to wind generation

Forecasting software could see the global wind market rise from US$74.2 billion to US$109.8 billion in 2017

IBM’s new technology could help energy companies to reduce loss of renewable electricity. (Source: IBM)


By Nilima Choudhury 

The global wind industry could grow from US$74.2 billion to $109.8 billion in 2017 thanks to new energy and weather forecasting software from IBM.

It says its new Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting (HyRef) technology can help energy providers analyse and model weather to optimise reliable output of renewables into the electricity grid.

HyRef is currently being trialled in Zhangbei, China, at the world’s largest renewable energy project, where IBM claims it can increase renewable power generation by 10%, the equivalent of powering 14,000 homes.

According to analysts at IBM 30-40% of renewable energy cannot be used because it is not stable.

“Applying analytics and harnessing big data will allow utilities to tackle the intermittent nature of renewable energy and forecast power production from solar and wind, in a way that has never been done before,” said Brad Gammons, general manager IBM’s Global Energy and Utilities Industry.

“We have developed an intelligent system that combines weather and power forecasting to increase system availability and optimise power grid performance.”

This project builds upon another IBM initiative which can strategically place wind turbines in locations from weather reports to reduce maintenance and operational costs over the life of the project.

James Beard from UK-based Renewable Energy Association told RTCC that despite the benefits of this technology, there will still remain challenges: “Those renewables which are weather dependent have a big role to play, but the REA is well aware that their expansion can also present challenges to the electricity system’s ability to match supply and demand.

“There are lots of different angles to this, such as energy storage, demand response incentives, infrastructure upgrades and improving predictability of supply. This new technology looks very interesting and could help resolve the predictability issue.”

VIDEO: How does HyRef work?

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