Useful analytics to improve program performance.
Resource planning and forecasting in a changing climate.
Utility planners depend on an accurate estimate of normal weather to forecast resource needs and costs. But as the climate changes, so must the definition of ‘normal.’
Geomagnetic storms and the limits of human experience.
On April 30, FERC held a technical conference to review scientific claims and policy arguments about geomagnetic disturbances, known as GMD—how some say that a once-in-a-century solar storm could induce a power surge on the interstate grid so destructive as to cook and fry as many 300 extra-high-voltage transformers, plunging much of the nation into a blackout lasting months or even years. Some researchers even harbor fears that GMDs could end life as we know it.
A senator’s crusade limits America’s options.
Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe has made it his mission to block environmental regulations, especially greenhouse gas constraints. His most recent attack targets John Bryson, former Edison International CEO and Pres. Barack Obama’s nominee for Commerce Secretary. But rather than protecting economic interests, as Inhofe purportedly aims to do, his actions have added to the ongoing policy chaos that frustrates clean coal development.
Lockheed Martin teams with Tendril; Pattern Energy 101 MW wind plant starts operating; Alstom to supply steam equipment to GWF plant; Siemens wins government efficiency contract; GE Jenbacher introduces high-efficiency gas engine; OpenADR Alliance forms; Better Place gets into San Francisco taxis; EnerNOC enters TransAmerica Pyramid; and more.
Forecasting brings wind energy under control.
Advancements in forecasting have improved the reliability of day-ahead and hour-ahead estimates of wind generation. Wind never will behave like a base-load power plant. But as system operators integrate wind forecasts into their planning and market processes, they’re transforming intermittent wind energy into a variable but reliable resource.
Modeling variables improves daily estimates of gas demand.
At what daily temperature do customers turn on their furnaces? Or more realistically, given individual behavior, over what range of temperatures do they turn on their furnaces? To estimate the current base for its customers, Columbia Gas of Ohio used daily demand and temperature data for the three-year period from April 2005 through March 2008.
Why have utilities lost millions of dollars on weather-normalization plans? Blame deprecated NOAA calculations.
NOAA’s measure of heating degree-days between a normal 30-year period and a given test year is consequently too high by 77 degrees when compared with the more accurate hourly estimates for the 30-year period and for the test year. In this case, a hypothetical Northwest utility would see a revenue shortfall of between $2 million and $5 million.
What can be done to improve weather prediction and load forecasts?
Improving the day-ahead weather and load forecast by just 1 degree Fahrenheit would have huge financial benefits for the industry.
The industry responds to FERC's new safety regulations.
Utility companies are scrambling to understand and comply with the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, which became law in December 2002. According to Daphne Magnuson, director of public relations at the American Gas Association (AGA), the act will require member companies to make significant changes during the next 10 years in how they operate.