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There is now a range of sophisticated modelling tools, which can provide robust short-term forecasts of the output of wind farms and portfolios of wind farms.  

These models are being used in a range of markets for a range of different purposes.  Key areas of use are by TSOs, to facilitate balancing of the grid, by energy traders to trade energy from wind farms on futures markets and by wind farm owners to optimise O&M arrangements.  

The use of wind energy forecasts in many countries is at an embryonic stage and there are substantial benefits to be gained from the wider adoption of current state-of-the-art forecasting in all of the areas mentioned above.  In addition, changes need to be made in the way the power systems are operated and markets are functioning.  The tools are available; they just need to be more widely used.  

There is substantial ongoing work, aimed at improving the forecast tools.  There are two main aspects to this work.  Global level weather models, which are behind all sophisticated short-term forecast models, are continuously improving, due to:

  • the availability of greater computing power;
  • a better understanding of the physics; and
  • more numerous input data from sources, such as satellites and aeroplanes.  

In parallel with such advances, the short-term forecasters specifically serving the wind industry are continually improving models.  A key practical way in which models are improving is due to improvements in wind farm SCADA systems, meaning an increase in the quality of the information flowing back from the wind farm to be used in the forecast.   

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