Project Development, Wind Power

Xcel & Vaisala To Install Wind Observation Technology in Colorado

Vaisala, Xcel Energy and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have joined forces on a pioneering pilot project in the U.S. that the participants said could take observing and forecasting for wind energy production to the next level.

The goal of the project is to explore the use of a new wind observing and forecasting system for Xcel Energy’s wind power generation. The system will provide critical decision-making support for balancing wind power with traditional fossil fuel generation. A primary focus of the effort is to develop technologies that will better anticipate changes in wind energy output from wind farms.

Vaisala is providing Xcel Energy with surface weather stations, radar wind profiling capability, National Lightning Detection Network data, as well as installation and operating services for a 12-month pilot program.

The wind observation network will be located around wind farms in Colorado that total 400 megawatts of installed capacity. The network will become operational in November 2009.

NCAR has been contracted to refine a wind forecasting system that focuses on wind ramp detection for the project. Vaisala’s observation data will be integrated with the forecast information in a decision support tool developed by Vaisala in close cooperation with the three parties.