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Livermore, Calif.-based Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has signed an agreement with Siemens Energy Inc. to provide high-resolution atmospheric modeling capabilities to improve the efficiency of wind farm sites, turbine design and wind farm operations.

LLNL will provide numerical weather prediction models with resolution as fine as 1 km-scale to predict power generated by the wind so that wind farms can operate more efficiently while providing more power to grids. Predictive time frames range from one hour to several days ahead of time.

Under a $2 million, two-year cooperative research and development agreement, the Livermore team will provide modeling that combines its atmospheric turbulence modeling capabilities with complex databases of topography and sea surface temperature.

More accurate wind predictions will have a positive effect on wind farm operators and owners who can know hours or days ahead of time how wind conditions will affect power generation. The wind forecasting project started under a laboratory directed research development program, a principal source of internal research and development funding at LLNL.

More accurate predictions also could reduce the investment risks in wind-powered projects, improve the design of tall wind turbines to withstand the high turbulence environment higher in the atmosphere and enable optimal bids on wind farm production.

"Accurate and timely forecasts of power availability will enable turbine owners and operators to generate optimal bids on wind turbine production and, in turn, maximize both financial benefit and grid support," says Henrik Stiesdal, chief technology officer for wind power generation at Siemens.

In addition to providing hourly and daily predictions, LLNL will explore the impacts of global climate change on wind resources 20 years into the future. Siemens will translate LLNL forecasts of wind speed and wind direction at each turbine into power collected.

SOURCE: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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