According to an expert in weather modeling and prediction, it’s going to be a cold, stormy winter for parts of the Midwest United States, so energy managers in that region should plan accordingly.
“Chicago, Ohio, Detroit will be most susceptible to stormy, cold, volatile weather, during October continuing to run cool into December, with January being the height of storminess, said Ria Persad, president and CEO of StatWeather, a company that does weather modeling for energy trading, energy management and demand response clients.
Unlike traditional meteorology, which looks at present conditions and uses radar and other technologies to predict a short-term forecast, StatWeather uses 120 years of historical data and algorithms to analyze big patterns and deliver a probability-based forecast. It’s a science that converges meteorology and math known as statistical climatology.
“It’s the same type of statistics Google will use for advertising based on past data and past patterns,” said Persad. “Weather data turns out to be remarkably pattern oriented.”
Besides planning for severe weather and potential outages, precise weather forecasting is helpful for companies that want to reduce their electric loads during peak days, which are used in some areas to calculate the following year’s electric rates.
For example, StatWeather has a large industrial client that manufactures chemical gases. The company used the weather forecasting to predict the hottest days in Texas of this past summer.
“If they are able to plan a plant shutdown or maintenance during those peak weather times, their consumption for those days goes down to zero,” said Persad. “It costs about $200,000 for a shutdown. They usually shut down about 12 times during the summer to catch the peaks. We were able to help them cut that down to six times, and four of those times were their peaks.”
In addition to helping lower their electricity rates for the following year, shutting down during the hottest days of summer also saves on the utility bill during those high-load times.
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