IBM releases RE output system

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As the amount of photovoltaic and wind powered generating capacity is increased on electricity grids, software to be able to accurately predict output from various renewable energy sources becomes increasingly important. IBM is entering this field with its Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting HyRef tool.

HyRef draws on weather modelling, cloud imaging and sky facing cameras to predict output from photovoltaic arrays. Sensors on wind turbines monitor wind speed, temperature and direction. IBM claims the data assimilation software can produce forecasts within a wind farm as far as one month in advance, or down to 15 minute increments.

HyRef is being applied by the State Grid Jibel Electricity Power Company Limited in China, in phase one of the 670 MW Zhangbei renewable energy demonstration project. The project combines wind and solar power with energy storage and transmission.

Phase one of Zhangbei project hopes to increase renewable energy integration by 10%. IBM says its HyRef system will allow the utility to more accurately forecast renewable energy production and predict how much power should be redirected into the electricity grid or stored.

"Applying analytics and harnessing big data will allow utilities to tackle the intermittent nature of renewable energy and forecast power production from solar and wind, in a way that has never been done before," said Brad Gammons, General Manager IBM’s Global Energy and Utilities Industry, in a statement announcing HyRef’s release.