Probabilistic Day-Ahead Forecasting Using an Analog Ensemble Approach for Wind Farm Grid Services

Research output: NRELPresentation


Wind resource assessment and wind power forecasting are used in research and industry to anticipate future power output at scales ranging from individual wind turbines to entire wind farms. Probabilistic day-ahead wind forecasting is useful for anticipating how a wind farm could potentially participate in the day-ahead market by providing upper and lower bounds for expected power generation, thus informing grid operators of its uncertainty. Understanding this uncertainty is part of a larger project focused on building a platform that combines efforts in weather forecasting, aerodynamic and economic modeling to create maximum value of a wind plant to better provide services to the grid. This effort is also known as the Atmosphere to Electrons to Grid (A2E2G) project. One method for producing a probabilistic forecast is through the analog ensemble approach (Delle Monache et al., 2011). This method leverages historical forecasts and their corresponding observations as a training data set from which future forecasts can be made. For some future forecast, the most similar historical forecasts (analogs) are identified on a regular time basis such as once per a 3-hour window. The most similar analogs, based on a metric such as root mean square error (RMSE), are recorded and their corresponding verifying observations are used as an ensemble member for this future forecast. Prior work in this area demonstrates improvements over raw Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) forecasts and shows skill similar to techniques such as logistic regression and machine learning (Delle Monache et al., 2013; Alessandrini et al., 2015). Here, we take the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh model (HRRR) day-ahead forecast (0-36 hours) to create a probabilistic day-ahead forecast using an analog ensemble approach. The HRRR has an hourly temporal resolution, with a spatial resolution of 3 km. The 12 UTC HRRR model run is downloaded every day for one year from August 2019 - July 2020, with the first 11 months serving as a bank of analogs from which the forecasting algorithm can create a probabilistic forecast. Once downloaded, the original HRRR forecast is temporally interpolated to 5-minutes, aligning with both the temporal resolution of the observations as well as the timescale relevant for day-ahead power forecasts. The forecast is validated at the M2 tower at the Flatirons Campus of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at a typical wind turbine height of 80 m. Variables such as wind speed, wind direction, and turbulence intensity are incorporated into the probabilistic forecast model and weighted according to their relative importance to the forecast. Based on metrics such as mean bias error (MBE), mean absolute error (MAE), and root mean square error, the analog ensemble forecast outperforms the raw HRRR forecast during the testing period of July 2020. Figure 1 illustrates an example day-ahead forecast compared against the verifying observations. The general variability and ramps are captured throughout the day, with potential to further improve the analog ensemble model through machine learning techniques.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the Wind Energy Science Conference 2021, 25-28 May 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5D00-80142


  • numerical weather prediction
  • probabilistic forecasting
  • turbulence
  • wind energy
  • wind forecasting


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