For Immediate Release: November 17, 2011
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Awards Nearly $400,000 to UC Davis
for Wind Forecasting

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission has awarded $398,662 to the University of California, Davis to develop a forecasting tool that can be used by the state's grid operator to respond to sudden changes in wind power production.

"The research will help better integrate wind power into the electrical grid and improve the reliability of California's generation system," said Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller.

Funding for the project will come from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research program. UC Davis and its partners are providing an additional $109,364 in cost sharing funds.

The project calls for developing and implementing a tool that gives the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) advance warning of "wind ramp" events. "Wind ramp" events happen when winds change rapidly causing a sudden jump or drop in the power generated by wind turbines. The information will enhance the CAISO's ability to balance wind power generation with traditional generation in a specific timeframe.

The research will analyze historical wind ramp data and refine a prediction tool to provide a short-term wind event forecast for CAISO grid operators. For example, the tool will indicate that there is an 80 percent chance that a front with winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour will pass through the Solano County Wind Resource Area within a 45-minute timeframe. Grid operators could use such information to help decide what actions are needed to ramp up or down the generation system. Because of the anticipated large expansion of wind power production capacity in the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area in the next several years, having a fully operational wind ramp alert system for the CAISO by 2012 is critical. The research project will primarily focus on the Altamont Pass and Solano County wind resource areas in Northern California and the San Gorgonio and Tehachapi wind resource areas in Southern California.

The Public Interest Energy Research program supports public interest research and development that helps improve the quality of life in California by bringing environmentally safe, reliable, and affordable energy services and products to the marketplace. For more information, visit

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

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