Professor Coimbra and Jan P. Kleissl have come up with a weather forecasting machine that they claim it is more effective than the ones that are commonly being used now. Power grid experts believe that the accurate forecast of the machine would encourage companies to use wind power more judiciously. It could also be instrumental in greatly saving the cost of energy. The machine takes photographs of five square miles of the sky every half a minute and can forecast about the weather conditions for the next three to twenty minutes.
The forecasting engine has generated much interest among the wind and solar power grid operators who believe that this would give leverage to use renewable energy sources more profitably. The ability to know about the availability of wind beforehand can help to utilize it, and the industry will be able to plan its utility in advance. Moreover, the assurance of its availability can encourage them to rely more on the renewable energy source like the wind. The homeowners can turn on their electrical appliances like the air conditioners in time. This, in turn, will surely decrease the dependence on the back-up power plants.
At present, it is not possible to gauge accurately the velocity and duration of the wind that would be available through the traditional forecasting devices. Wind firms have to store the surplus energy through back-up batteries at high costs and use it when the need arises. Similarly the grid operators also have to purchase power, sometimes at exorbitant costs. The exact weather forecast would enable them to buy power when the price is less.
Sudden changes of wind conditions described as ‘ramp events’ also affect the plant. It can cause damage to the equipment. Back-up batteries may drain out quickly, which shortens their longevity. Proper forecasting of it will enable to ensure safety measures for it.