BPA Builds a New Wind Forecastby Staff
BPA Journal, July, 2013
BPA builds a new wind forecast Sitting in a dark room, enfolded by screens of twinkling data, Adam Caccavano mediates a powerful dance between Northwest wind and water.
As BPA duty schedulers like Caccavano coordinate the flows of water and hydroelectric power generation at the 31 federal dams, a new tool called the Super Forecast is helping them better anticipate the action of the wind across the turbines of BPA customers around the Columbia River Basin.
"It's definitely one of the most valuable things that's been done in the last few years to help us perform our jobs," says Caccavano.
The Super Forecast methodology, a software program launched in March, is another step in BPA's efforts to ensure the safe and reliable integration of variable resources, such as wind power.
"This is a great example of the type of innovation and creativity that has made BPA a world leader in renewable energy integration," says Elliot Mainzer, BPA acting deputy administrator. "Hats off to Scott and the team."
The system of federal dams in the Northwest undergirds the stability of the transmission grid in the renewable energy era. Federal hydro managers hold water and generation capacity in reserve to balance wind's variability. Meanwhile, the system stretches and flexes to provide navigation, flood control, irrigation and protection for migrating fish. BPA and the region are seeking opportunities to use the finite resources of the Columbia system more efficiently.
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