AESO / CanWEA forecasting study key to adding more wind power in Alberta
With the launch of Canada’s first wind forecasting study, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) take a major step forward in joint efforts to integrate more wind power to the Alberta electricity grid.
“Implementing a one-year wind forecasting study is a very important milestone for wind developers in Alberta,” said Robert Hornung, CanWEA president. “Wind forecasting is fundamental to the continued successful development of wind power in Alberta because it provides a valuable tool to manage the variable nature of wind and enables more wind to be added to the Alberta power generation mix.”
Forecasting contracts were awarded to each of AWS Truewind (Albany, New York); energy & meteo Systems (Oldenberg, Germany) and WEPROG (Ebberup, Denmark). A separate contract to analyze the effectiveness of the various models was awarded to Ortech Power (Mississauga, Ontario). Bids from across North America and Europe were reviewed by a working group of industry stakeholders and the AESO.
Phoenix Engineering Inc. (Calgary, Alberta) has also been contracted separately from the RFP to assist with collecting the required meteorological and operational data for the wind forecasting study. The five selected companies are expected to conduct the study from March 2007 to March 2008.
“The AESO is committed to integrating as much wind into the Alberta electric system as is feasible without compromising system reliability or the fair, efficient and openly competitive operation of the market,” said Dale McMaster, Chief Executive Officer of the AESO. “Alberta is the first Canadian province to investigate sophisticated wind forecasting methods. Wind power forecasting techniques are one of the tools that will help manage increased amounts of wind power in Alberta.”
The forecasting and analysis project will study varying wind patterns from the mountains to the prairies and substantially contribute to developing a made-in-Alberta solution for wind power that will work for the system operator, wind developers, the competitive power market and the citizens of Alberta.
“As a renewable energy source, wind power offers an environmentally friendly way to generate electricity for Alberta’s homes and businesses,” said Energy Minister Mel Knight. “The provincial government is pleased to support this study, which will help lay the groundwork for an expanded wind power industry in Alberta.”
The AESO and a group with representation from the wind industry is working toward the common goal of defining the market rules and tools necessary to manage wind variability which will ultimately make Alberta’s current wind threshold no longer necessary.
Further consultation with all representatives of Alberta’s electricity industry on the market framework for wind is planned for early 2007.
The forecasting study is being made possible by funding from the Alberta Department of Energy, the Alberta Energy Research Institute and the AESO; as well as a valuable contribution of time, resources and expertise from CanWEA.
The AESO is Canada’s first competitive, customer-focused exchange for electricity. As an independent system operator, the AESO leads the safe, reliable and economic planning and operation of Alberta’s interconnected power system. The AESO also facilitates Alberta’s fair, efficient and openly competitive wholesale electricity market, which has about 200 participants and approximately $7 billion in annual energy transactions.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) represents more than 280 companies involved in Canada’s wind energy industry, including wind turbine and component manufacturers, wind energy project developers, and service providers to the wind energy industry. CanWEA’s goal is to see 10,000 MW of wind energy capacity either contracted or installed in Canada by 2010.
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