The science of wind forecasting plays an important role in successfully integrating wind power into the electrical system.
Wind power in the United States today provides about 15 gigawatts, which is just less than one percent of total electricity generated. Over 30 U.S. state governments, as well as the District of Columbia, have called for a significant increase in the percentage of renewable electricity, with some goals as large as 33 percent and the earliest occurring by 2015. However, many steps are needed to successfully integrate intermittent wind energy into the electrical generation mix.
Livermore Laboratory has the tools and expertise to support renewable energy goals by forecasting winds using computer models. Accurate wind forecasts that account for complexities of microclimates both horizontally across land mass and vertically above the Earth's surface, can be generated with very-high-resolution spatial computer simulations. Such simulations provide useful information to wind plant developers and operators for developing appropriate management plans.
This Science & Technology Review article describes the challenges associated with integrating wind into the nation's electrical infrastructure.