Xcel Energy has announced an expanded agreement with the Boulder, Colo.-based National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) for renewable energy forecasting. NCAR previously designed a wind energy prediction system for the utility company beginning in 2009.
In the next two years, NCAR scientists and engineers will develop custom forecasting systems to enable Xcel Energy control centers in Minneapolis; Denver; Golden, Colo.; and Amarillo, Texas, to anticipate sudden changes in wind, shut down turbines ahead of potentially damaging icing events and help predict the amount of energy generated by private solar panels.
Xcel Energy says the systems will help it provide reliable power to its customers and reduce costs while moving to greater use of wind and solar.
The new project represents the latest venture by NCAR into renewable energy, which includes a three-year, nationwide project to create 36-hour forecasts of incoming energy from the sun for solar energy power plants.