Predict the Unpredictable: Power Forecasting and Energy Trading

It’s no longer the heritage of wizards and witches, persecuted because they flaunted obscure magical powers of future predictions. Forecasting mattered at that time and it is a must today, permeating any market and digital fields, any political, economic and social transformation, and even our own choices and daily actions.

Everybody aims to know what is going to happen in their lives, the day after, in the next weeks, in the next future. Everyone would like to be able to see straight to stay always one step ahead of the crowd. And in business, even more than in life, the ability to anticipate facts and trends is the primary key to success. Prediction is no less than crucial in the energy market and in the domain of renewables.

The global demand of energy is affected by many factors; some easy to predict, some not. Demographic changes, as well as a downturn in the economy or a marked growth, may significantly alter the numbers of energy demand in the long run. However, the unstoppable—and, in many respects, beneficial—growth of the renewable energy makes power forecasting an even harder problem to solve in the near terms or, more precisely, on a daily basis. Precise prediction of how much power will be forced into the grid at any given moment is critical to take energy companies towards a better and more profitable processes.

Accurate weather forecasts are the foundation of power forecasting but grid operators, electricity traders and renewable power plants operators can rely today on a variety of other information, often integrated in an asset management platform.

Role of Weather Forecasts

Power forecasting is about estimating the amount of energy that will be produced and transferred to the grid in the nearest future. The overall power derived from renewable sources is highly variable because subject to natural processes such as storms and sunshine. The quantity of energy in the grid, especially renewable energy, is volatile over time but, to some extent, predictable.

In addition to canonical weather forecasts, the industry can count on mid- and long-term weather analysis for any site, region and country. It’s not just the rise of renewables that has made weather forecasts of interest to the energy sector. In the past, for example, grid operators used weather forecasts to properly secure infrastructures and defend them in case of storms and extreme conditions. With always more power supply coming from decentralised and heterogeneous sources, and from any kind of devices, maintaining the balance between demand and offer is a laborious task that requires great expertise and computing power. The smallest changes, or the smallest piece of missing information, can lead to notorious butterfly effect. Weather forecasts, however, are just one of the key ingredients of power forecast.

Other important elements for accurate prediction are:

  • Availability of live data about the current power generation
  • Device metadata, including the device’s generation capacity
  • Historical data about weather and actual production recorded

In a nutshell, accurate prediction can help electricity traders make a profit from buying and selling power at a competitive price in the market.

Why Power Forecasting Is Beneficial:
  • Saves costs for direct marketers
  • Helps energy traders and regional power providers to calculate power production and energy pricing
  • Enables plant operators to estimate power production and schedule maintenance work
  • Timely identification of risks and faults
  • Overview of a wide variety of factors that influence power production
  • A predictive model ensures a monitored battery storage
  • A significant energy transition is underway, and many factors will shape the renewable energy future. The improvement of the prediction systems’ performance is one of the priorities in the renewable energy field for the coming years. 2018 promises to be a year characterised by innovation and disruptive technologies across the major energy sectors, from fossil fuels to renewables. Electricity load and price forecasts have become the engine of the energy companies’ decision-making processes. In big data scenarios, power forecasting’s flexible and reliable solutions become essential to manage and optimize all the information, making a profitable trading that consistently beats the market.
  • Technology will also be vital to improve living standards while addressing climate risks. Research & Development is going on to reshape the energy playing field. Global energy demand will continue to rise through 2040, growing prosperity for an increasing population worldwide.

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