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Accurate Seasonal Forecasts for Boosting Renewable Energy Generation and Improving Current Disaster Risk Management

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CLIMFOR (Accurate Seasonal Forecasts for Boosting Renewable Energy Generation and Improving Current Disaster Risk Management)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2019-11-30

The envisaged innovation of geopredict GmbH is the development, implementation, and commercialization of a short to medium-term atmosphere forecasting Software-as-a-Service platform (CLIMFOR) for local climate and energy applications as initial markets. The concept relies on original self-organizing and self-learning modeling technologies using high-resolved space-based earth observation (EO) data stored and maintained in a Big Data platform for distributed High-Performance Computing. This innovation will constitute a clear breakthrough relative to existing forecasting solutions and it fills the known gap in atmosphere forecasting between short-term local weather and long-term global climate forecasts. The use of non-interpolated EO data sources is key to ensure high spatial resolution. With this key enabling technology, different industries will benefit from high-resolved spatiotemporal forecasting data, currently provided by state-of-the-art (SOA) models and station-data based solutions mostly only at low spatiotemporal resolutions.

Our short-term goal is to address unmet needs in the energy and climate space: (i) Regional, high-resolution energy forecasting (e.g. load (electricity and heat), wind and solar power generation, and energy price forecasting) for implementation of optimal demand side predictive management mechanisms for the industrial and residential sector; (ii) Regional climate forecasting services for power generation resource assessments (e.g. wind/solar resource assessments, energy yield prediction, power performance monitoring & optimization).

The main objective of the project is to significantly strengthen geopredict’s resources, knowledge and skills in order to amplify the competitive advantage of our geo-forecasting solutions based on Intelligent Inductive Self-Organizing Modeling and Forecasting technologies. The CLIMFOR project plays a key role in the long-term business strategy of geopredict towards a leading global geo-forecasting provider. The completion of CLIMFOR will require additional investments and high qualified and specialized personnel.
In this study, the business potential and feasibility of the CLIMFOR product has been analysed. Starting with an Application scope and value proposition analysis of targeted market sectors, the environment has been analysed leading to market research for overview of market size and trends, to establish understanding of demand of such product. A SWOT analysis considers the company’s internal resources and external market/competitors factors. Resources and competencies have been identified to cater and mitigate any risks and external threats and weaknesses identified in SWOT.
Targeted customer groups and demographics have been identified and a specific pricing strategy for each targeted customer segment is being sorted with revenue projections. The unique selling points of CLIMFOR products are established considering product features, value proposition of company for customers and differentiating with benchmarking models done for competitors.

Market penetration critical success factors, porters analysis and sensitivity analysis has been done to cater market entry barriers and to tackle competition dynamics. Distribution channels, suppliers and export strategy have been developed for the product in this study as well.
At the time of completion of this feasibility report, discussions are on-going regarding potential partnerships and establishment of consortiums for developing services that will rely on CLIMFOR, which shall be seen as a solid infrastructure and earth observation data platform able to serve the needs of a multitude of cross-sectorial applications (e.g. energy forecasting for renewables, forecasting for climate and disaster management).

In summary, the feasibility study concludes a strong potential of business and market replication for CLIMFOR and shows generation of €40.5 million in accumulated revenue by 2026.
The CLIMFOR project shows the following potential impacts beyond the state of the art in different application fields:

Application 1: Efficient renewable energy generation forecasting & energy trading tool
The CLIMFOR platform will offer a suite of forecasts, ranging from real-time updates every hour to seasonal updates, making use of our seasonal forecasting models. CLIMFOR will enable accurate energy trading and pricing through accurate weather forecast and predictive modelling for gas, wind and solar energy. Our tool can be tailored to the specific needs of the different players across the value chain, in particular:

(i) producers of energy (natural gas, renewables) who need to sell their production and want to secure commitments in advance to lock in prices;
(ii)  trading and portfolio managers involved in: generation-supply balance; cross-border trading, hedging of fuel price risk; hedging of electricity price risk;
(iii)  buyers of energy power, including commercial and residential users;
(iv)  energy traders and speculators, those who seek to generate profits by buying and selling futures contracts;
(v)  distributors, responsible for grid, transmission and distribution to consumers.

Application 2: Commercial climate and disaster management tool
CLIMFOR will enable asset manager owners and operators, in particular for energy, telco and other large assets:
Provision of information related to extreme or uncertain weather changes including extreme temperature (hot and cold weathers), storms, lightning strikes, drought, floods, rising sea levels, wind conditions, probability of wildfires due to certain temperature in wild regions;
Adequately preparing utilities, public environmental services for natural disasters – for instance, utilities need to know where and when damaging weather conditions will impact their territory to execute a faster response to service interruptions.
Provide reliable, precise weather data – including real-time lightning detection and customizable alerts – to help utilities or grid operators prepare and restore power more quickly after a disaster.
Help utilities and asset owner to plan ahead and more effectively, based on real-time and predictive data. With a high-resolution forecasting service, CLIMFOR can work with the GIS system to provide the ultimate view of conditions and how the weather is affecting key infrastructure.
Enable a more effective mobile crew management. With a precise understating of the critical assets in the grid, utilities can plan ahead and ensure that enough crews are mobilized to respond to the predicted damage (e.g. real-time, animated lightning strikes can pinpoint where assets may be in danger). With a top-rated atmospheric forecasting service as CLIMFOR, a utility may be able to procure the resources it needs more quickly and preparing mitigation and contingency plans.