It doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, but...
The more wind power you have hooked up to the grid, the more important it is to have a good wind forecasting mechanism in place. The government of Ontario has decided to give a hand to the various wind power producers in the province by taking that responsibility and creating a central forecasting service in 2010.
Ontario, Canada's most populous province and biggest energy consumer, already leads the other provinces in installed wind energy capacity, with 1,200 megawatts of power. [...] increasing capacity this year by more than 50 percent [this year].
Centralized wind forecasting helps to improve forecast accuracy and consistency to make the power system more reliable. It also helps to reduce the administrative burden on wind generators, [Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)] said.
IESO also has a cool real-time (almost) web track that shows how much electricity the province's wind farms are currently producing. For example, as of this writing, production is at 460 megawatts (out of a capacity of 1,200 megawatts).
Here's an embedded version of the Ontario wind power tracker:
The IESO writes: "In April 2009, the average wind output was 41 per cent of capacity, while in June it was 14 per cent, reflecting the fact that the summer months aren’t as windy. IESO centralized wind forecasting, due to begin in the summer of 2010, will help address the variable nature of this energy supply, as it will allow the IESO to understand the periods of time in which they can expect greater levels of wind generation. Equipped with this knowledge, the IESO will be better able to manage all the province’s electricity resources used to meet Ontario’s needs."
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