Solar and wind farms will soon be trialled to see if they can provide their own short-term generation forecasts, under a funding initiative by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
ARENA has awarded $9.41 million to 11 projects to trial short-term forecasting at large-scale wind and solar farms across the nation.
The funding is expected to help explore the potential for wind and solar farms to provide their own, more accurate, output forecasts into AEMO’s central dispatch system.
Forecasting technology and factors that affect the accuracy of forecasts in different weather, operational conditions and geographies will also be investigated.
AEMO is currently responsible for forecasting how much electricity will be generated by wind and solar farms, the output of which varies depending on the weather and time of day. If these supply forecasts are wrong or generators cannot meet their target, it can result in power system instability and higher operating costs.
Wind and solar farms are penalised for not meeting a required output level or can be required to restrict their generation to match an overly conservative forecast.
As part of this initiative, AEMO has facilitated market changes which mean that all wind and solar farms registered in the NEM will be able to submit their own 5-minute ahead forecasts to AEMO, for use in central dispatch to improve the accuracy of market outcomes.
The ARENA-funded trial will explore the benefits that this new capability brings to the system.
The portfolio of 11 projects will involve a range of weather forecasting technologies such as onsite cloud cameras that can predict the timing and impact of passing clouds on a solar farm, wind speed radars, Japanese weather satellites, infrared, crunching of Bureau of Meteorology data and machine learning algorithms.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said these trials will provide test cases for wind and solar to do their own five-minute forecasts just as traditional power plants do.
“Working with AEMO, we’re supporting these trials to help avoid generators being unfairly penalised for inaccurate forecasts while also supporting system security by better matching demand with anticipated supply from variable renewable generators,” Mr Miller said.
“Much like traditional energy generators, we’re aiming to show that renewable energy is now capable of providing accurate measurement of energy output.”
Funding recipients include:
- Windlab Ltd
- Industrial Monitoring & Control Pty Ltd
- Meridian Energy Australia Pty Ltd
- Solar and Storage Modelling Pty Ltd (Solcast)
- Advisian Pty Ltd
- DNV GL Pty Ltd
- Fulcrum 3D Pty Ltd (Wind Project)
- Vestas Australian Wind Technology Pty Ltd
- Aeolius Wind Systems Pty Ltd
- Proa Analytics Pty Ltd
- Fulcrum 3D Pty Ltd (Solar Project)