For Immediate Release: December 14, 2011
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Awards $646,661 to UC Davis for Wind Forecast Research

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission today awarded $646,661 to UC Davis for a research project that will help improve the state's grid operator's ability to forecast wind energy generation.

"Improving the forecasts will help system operators deal with the intermittent nature of wind-based electric power and aid in making wind power work as an integral part of the grid," said Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller.

Funding for the project will come from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. UC Davis and its research partners are providing an additional $76,986 in cost-sharing.

The project will deploy atmospheric remote sensing equipment -- Light Detecting and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors and radiometers -- at selected wind farm sites in the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area in Southern California. The project will identify the best equipment to be used for long-term data collection and the locations for the equipment. The goal of the project to help produce the most accurate data that the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) can use for its short-term wind forecasts (generally those within a six-hour timeframe).

The research is focused on the Tehachapi area because of an anticipated expansion of wind generation with about 4,000 megawatts of new capacity projected for installation within the next five to 10 years. Such a large percent of California's wind power being generated in a relatively small region raises concerns about large changes in wind power generation because of weather and the related power grid management issues.

The project originated at the request of the CAISO, which assembled the collaborative effort. Southern California Edison, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and UC San Diego are also involved in the project. This project is the companion to a $398,662 award that the Energy Commission approved last month for UC Davis. That project calls for UC Davis to develop a forecasting tool that CAISO can use to respond to sudden changes in wind power production.

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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