Climate Central Releases New Tool for Broadcast Meteorologists to Highlight Local Impact of Renewables

In the wake of this year’s National Clean Energy Week, we are pleased see our fellow advocates continue to find new ways of saving energy. At the end of September, Climate Central launched a new wind and solar forecasting tool that will enable broadcast meteorologists to add daily renewable-electricity generation information to their local forecasts.

The forecasting tool will show the amount of electricity derived from wind and solar power in a specific region and how the local weather will impact the renewable-sourced electricity. Featuring a slick interface that shows local renewables data clearly, the tool will allow meteorologists to integrate the information into their daily broadcasts with ease.

The tool runs off of hourly-observed data to estimate the electricity that was generated the day prior; it then uses that data in conjunction with a gridded numerical weather model output and estimates of local wind and solar capacity to forecast the electricity that will be generated from renewables that day and the next.

But the insights that the tool provides go even further—the data that the tool runs on is scaled to find out the percentage of homes in the media market that could be powered by wind and solar for the day. This will give the audience watching the broadcast an idea of the potential that renewables hold for powering their neighborhoods.

Wind power is usually generated in rural areas, far removed from the cities that will receive the weather broadcast, so the tool leverages the Nielsen DMA to find out the amount of wind power that could impact the community. The tool also uses the eGRID region associated with a specific consumer market.

The acronym eGRID is short for Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database. This EPA resource provides a comprehensive database of environmental characteristic of most of the electric power generated in the United States. Drawing on this resource makes the forecasting tool even more effective the addition of national energy data.

Climate Central’s website includes sample forecasts to illustrate what a meteorologist’s broadcast might sound like with a renewable energy component added in:

“Expect west winds at 10-20 mph in Wichita tomorrow, which will generate enough electricity to power 30% of the homes in our area with the turbines that are already installed.” 

“Our Solar Power Index in Phoenix is a 9 out of 10 today, and the installed solar PV capacity could power 40% of the homes in our area. A typical home with solar panels installed would save 60% on electrical costs today.”

Hats off to Climate Central for developing this exciting new tool for broadcast meteorologists. We love watching innovation spring up in industries that may not be recognized for their important impact on the way that consumers view their energy consumption habits.

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