6th International Conference Energy & Meteorology: Abstract Submission

Development of a Wind Extremes Forecast System (WEFS) For Outage Prediction  (831)

Jeffrey M Freedman 1 , John Zack 2 , Michael Berlinger 3 , Christopher Cheng 4
  1. Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, Albany, NY, USA
  2. MESO, Inc., Troy, NY, USA
  3. Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, New York, NY, USA
  4. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Albany, NY, USA

Objective and Background.

This presentation will summarize the development of the Wind Extremes Forecast System (WEFS), which is undergoing operational testing of forecasts of threshold wind speeds and wind gusts for outage prediction at county to sub-county scales (transmission down to distribution lines) in southern New York State and New York City. 

The project is sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and is focused on the service areas of the Consolidated Edison Company of New York and its subsidiary, Orange and Rockland (Con Ed), 

During the last 20 years, thousands of wind or wind-related events in New York have produced power outages affecting millions of customers causing billions of dollars in economic losses throughout the state. Under a changing climate, New York is experiencing an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, many of which are accompanied by high winds. The rising number of extreme wind events is leading to an increase in the frequency of power outages, resulting in economic losses to utilities, businesses (including the especially vulnerable digital economy), and residential customers. Current forecast systems used by utilities to predict potential wind-related power outages have not satisfactorily addressed operational needs and therefore the development of a more dependable approach to produce forecasts of imminent extreme wind events is paramount.


The initial version of WEFS is based upon state-of-the-art National Weather Service and customized in-house Numerical Weather Prediction output. WEFS assimilates real-time local area surface-based and remote sensing data and incorporates Machine Learning techniques. WEFS is producing high spatial (1 km) and temporal (15 minutes) resolution deterministic and probabilistic forecasts of short-term average and peak wind speeds out to 48 hours. Future versions of WEFS may produce outage probability forecasts at the same resolution. This information will enable utilities and other stakeholders (e.g. emergency management services) to plan for and deploy necessary resources to minimize power outage impacts, resulting in improvements to reliability and resiliency of the power distribution system. 

WEFS is leveraging the assets of the New York State Mesonet, including 126 surface stations, and more strategically, enhanced (profiler) sites that continuously sample the vertical profiles of temperature, humidity, and winds from the surface through the top of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL, typically 1 – 3 km). Although the initial focus of WEFS is on the Con Ed service area in southeastern New York (including New York City, Rockland, Orange and Westchester Counties), the system will be usable for any transmission service territory.