Atmospheric Science for Renewable Energy Development

Dave Turner, Program Manager

Video: NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory – Improving Weather Forecasts for Wind and Solar Energy


To improve solar and wind renewable energy forecasts by improving the representation of boundary layer and other processes in numerical weather prediction models


Developing forecasts, observations of wind and solar resources, and tools to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the energy system through better understanding and modeling.


NOAA provides the national-scale meteorological observations and numerical weather prediction forecast models used by the renewable energy (RE) industry. As the nation’s wind and solar industries grow, NOAA faces increased demands for better products and services, including improved meteorological observations and more accurate wind and cloud forecasts over a range of timescales. NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) is uniquely qualified to provide the improved weather forecasts, observations, and climate information needed to support the effective planning for and efficient operation of a national renewable energy system.

With highly accurate observations, forecasts, and understanding of how wind and solar resources vary and co-vary across time and space, the electric grid will be better able to accommodate the variable nature of wind and solar energy. This will yield greater production of carbon-free renewable energy while also reducing air pollutant emissions.

ESRL is currently working with the wind and solar energy industries and the Department of Energy to improve existing meteorological observing networks and weather forecast models for RE applications. ESRL is working to improve NOAA’s numerical weather prediction guidance, which is used as input to the private sector’s tailored forecast products.