Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP)

Contacts: Melinda Marquis (Phone: 303.497.4487) or Jim Wilczak (Phone: 303.497.6245)

Wind Turbines

In the Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP), NOAA partnered with private forecasters to develop more accurate methods for wind forecasts. The Department of Energy (DOE) funded this effort.

WFIP had four main goals: 1) to collect new meteorological observations from the public and private sector; 2) to incorporate those observations into NOAA’s hourly-updated 13-km resolution Rapid Refresh (RAP) model and its hourly-updated 3-km High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model; 3) to determine whether using these additional observations led to better wind forecasts; and 4) to determine whether improved model forecasts also improved the efficiency and economics of wind power generation.

NOAA temporarily installed meteorological instruments in the Upper Great Plains and Texas to collect data during the twelve-month project, and wind power providers shared with NOAA their observations from their networks of tall towers and wind plants. When private forecasters used the RAP and HRRR models to make their wind forecasts, their intra-day (within a day) forecasts improved. Specifically, one of WFIP’s major accomplishments was to show improved short-term (0-6 hour) wind power forecasts using the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) RAP model as compared to forecasts made with the National Weather Service (NWS) Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) model.

At the start of WFIP, the RUC model was the hourly-updated forecast model widely used by the wind energy industry. Over the first six months of the WFIP field study, when the RAP hourly-updated forecast model was used in the Upper Great Plains Study area, there was a 13 percent power improvement at forecast hour 1 as compared to the RUC forecast, decreasing to a 6 percent improvement in later forecast hours. In the Texas study area, there was a 15 percent power improvement at forecast hour 1, decreasing to a 5 percent improvement for a 15-hour forecast.

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