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Renewable Energy

An overhead photo of the Long Island Solar Farm at Brookhaven Lab. Located in a marine environment, Brookhaven provides a unique site for solar research. On average, more than 300 clouds roll in each day.

There have been growing demands for various forms of renewable energy, including solar energy and wind energy, both nationally and internationally. For example, US. DOE has heavily invested in the related areas through the EERE Solar Energy Technology Office and Wind Energy Technologies Office. The New Vision of New York State for renewal energy demands that 50% of electricity must come from renewable sources. Locally, the interests are strong in offshore wind farms and solar farms.

Renewal energy generation is different from many traditional energy sources in that its availability depends on highly varying atmospheric phenomena such as solar irradiance, wind, clouds, and precipitation. For example, a small improvement (around 10%–20% improvement in mean absolute error) in forecasting winds can lead to millions of dollars in cost savings. Since total electric supply and demand must always remain in sync, the cost-efficient integration of such renewables in the electric grid ultimately depends on our ability to accurately forecast related key meteorological variables − solar irradiance for solar farms and wind for wind farms − over various time horizons (e.g., mins, hours, and days ahead), and at high space-time resolutions. Furthermore, the so-called ramp (extreme event) forecast is critical for improving renewal energy forecasts.