Toralf Hey
Managing Director
View from the Top

Forecasting Software Places Big Players on the Map

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 13:40

Q: What are the advantages of using meteorological data, and what benefits do these bring to solar and wind operators?

A: When forecasting the exact production of a solar park or wind farm, the regional conditions must be taken into account. These conditions entail the geography, topography, infrastructure, and layout of each project development. In order to determine the local conditions, it is essential to consider what is occurring on a global scale. These are meteorological considerations that include wind and other variables such as temperature, pressure, heat fluxes, humidity, and irradiation in the case of solar. It is a non-linear process in which the use of regional numerical weather prediction models (NWP) is necessary, and where the regional data is then localized in the power conversion process.

Q: What software have you implemented to build the actual sets of data that you provide?

A: Our software collects information, visualizes it, and then gives users an indication of the direction of the demand, load, or generation. Wind or solar generation forecasts are only two elements of the data flow in the system. Our solution is web-based and, at its core, offers high-resolution meter data management combined with powerful analysis and forecasting technology. All calculated results are accessible via secure web access. The input data used is taken from the global platform and fed into the meteorological model, which then calculates the desired results while adapting a multiple-scenario approach. This means that in order to determine what the generation output will be, we calculate multiple scenarios, thus creating a security corridor between the maximum and minimum values, and also calculating each scenario’s probability in order to determine the most probable path at the time of calculation. The result of this first calculation may be updated by real-time data.

Q: What are the advantages that solar and wind companies obtain from using your solutions?

A: There are two different types of forecasting. The first type is geared toward the early stages of project development, where the forecast focuses on how much wind the site will receive in the coming 20 years. This forecast is geared to the sum of all the resources in order to make the project bankable, and essentially serves as an estimation of generation in a site. An actual forecast is needed in the operation of the project and the distribution system line connected to the actual site, in order to align and match the profiles of the generator and off-taker, and also to allow the distribution and transmission system operator to balance the grid. A generator or any off-taker needs this information in order to receive the most profit from their investment. This data is essential in a market where the generator is responsible for marketing the electricity, or where there are incentives or even deterrents that punish the company for failing to sell all of the generated electricity.

Q: Have there been any significant challenges in convincing potential clients in Mexico of the value of your services?

A: It is much easier to penetrate a country such as Germany, where there has been a liquid market for a couple of years now and off-takers have had time to experience and understand the importance of hedging their position with financial instruments. The functioning of the Mexican market is similar to any other financial market, so it is not difficult to explain why our solution would bring value to the companies’ portfolios. The challenge today lies in the layout of the market that is being currently shaped, since clients are hesitant to make any major decision regarding where to invest. As we establish our presence in Mexico, we want to cooperate with those companies that see themselves as pioneers and are at the forefront of the market. There is a heightened interest in the Mexican market, and at first we will see a rush of investment, followed by consolidations. We have had experience in working with transmission system operators that are comparable to entities like CFE and CENACE, with control of the transmission lines. In my experience, there is also a potential for industrials that have the manpower and resources to expand their core business. Biosolventus is a highly specialized company that implements a detailed approach and employs German practices, using this to its and its clients’ advantage.