Proa Analytics delivers first solar farm self-forecast to AEMO

Proa, a start-up by University of Melbourne alumni, has recently become the first, independent provider of solar or wind farm forecasts to be integrated into the National Electricity Market Dispatch Engine (NEMDE) run by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

NEMDE uses forecasts from solar and wind farms to schedule gas, coal, hydro, batteries, and other generators more efficiently. AEMO only permits independent providers of these forecasts to integrate into NEMDE once those forecasts have been pass AEMO's rigorous standards for accuracy and reliability.

To date, the Proa Forecasting System (PFS) is the only independent forecasting system to have met this AEMO requirement. This was demonstrated on the 95 MW Tailem Bend Solar Project in South Australia, in partnership with farm owner and operator Vena Energy Australia.

Proa is now implementing the PFS to other solar farms across the NEM.

Dr Victor Depoorter, Proa co-founder and Technical Director said that "Proa’s solar forecasts are the combination of several forecast techniques. We have developed new methods to track cloud movement from both satellite images, which give us a view of clouds across the whole of Australia, and from skycam images (cameras we install at each solar farm), which give the most detailed view of local cloud conditions. We combine these with live measurements from the solar farm and leading numerical weather prediction models from agencies across the world including from Australia’s own Bureau of Meteorology.”

At Proa we are excited about the potential for self-forecasting – it will have tremendous benefits to solar and wind farms by reducing costs -- in particular FCAS costs -- as well as the power system overall by improving the efficiency of all generators in the NEM. As more batteries come online, forecasts will help them plan when to recharge and discharge. Accurate forecasts will unlock the potential for solar and wind farms to provide new services that help power system security and reliability. Underlying all these benefits is that better information will lead to better decisions.”

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Ruby Brown

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