Wind & Solar Energy Prediction: Challenges and Opportunities


 William P. Mahoney III

William P. Mahoney III
Deputy Director, Research Applications Laboratory
National Center for Atmospheric Research
Boulder, Colorado



Skillful wind and solar energy forecasts are crucial for the renewable energy production and electric grid management. The requirement for accurate wind and solar energy forecasts is a challenge for the atmospheric science community as improvements in wind energy prediction will require significant advancements in our knowledge of boundary layer meteorology and understanding flows complicated by turbulence and wind shear. Detailed understanding of boundary layer flows under a wide range of conditions is essential to better characterize wind turbine inflow conditions for wind resource characterization and wind turbine load analysis. Solar energy prediction improvements will require advances in cloud identification and tracking, cloud microphysics, precipitation processes, and aerosol generation and dissipation. Advancements in modeling across scales are required to fully describe and predict atmospheric processes important to wind and solar energy. This talk will describe these challenges and highlight opportunities for improvement.