Fraunhofer develops software for renewable-energy forecasting

In a market that is rapidly transitioning from being subsidy based to being a fully competitive, renewable energy sources are looking at ways to supply utilities and grid operators more effectively. As such, reliable forecasts of wind, photovoltaic and geothermal production forecasts are important in allowing for electricity to be marketed in advance on the EPEX – the European power exchange. This adds significant value for utilities, as they can be confident about how much renewable electricity will be fed into the grid on a given day.

Responding to this demand, engineers from the Fraunhofer Application Center System Technology AST developed the EMS-EDM PROPHET software. Grid operator TenneT TSO collaborated on the project. The software summarizes data from multiple sources to produce a "meta-forecast". While Fraunhofer does not release how many sources are used, the body claims it is a "large number".

The computing process behind the software consists of 15,000 steps, which Fraunhofer claims represents a "massive challenge" for the software.

For renewable energy producers, the software developers say that using the optimized forecasts can optimize the revenues from green energy.

While at present the software uses data regarding wind, photovoltaic and geothermal power, the plan is for other sources, such as biomass, hydroelectric and landfill gas to become integrated by the software.

In a statement announcing the software, Christian Schulz at TenneT said: "A flexible software solution is particularly important, considering the framework conditions that are changing at an ever faster pace."