Big data is giving China an edge in renewable energy production

Imagine getting a report that predicts weather conditions right outside your front door every 15 minutes. That’s happening in China, at least on wind farms where IBM is deploying technology that crunches gargantuan data flows from sensors, satellites and other sources to give granular forecasts for wind conditions at individual turbines.
As China, the US and other countries ramp up electricity production from renewable but intermittent sources like wind and solar farms, such forecasting is becoming crucial to integrating green energy into power grids. If you can forecast how windy or sunny the weather will be at a wind farm or solar power plant, you can predict how much electricity— and revenue—will be generated. And that allows utilities to avoid firing up expensive and carbon-polluting fossil fuel plants to plug the gaps in supply when a turbine farm suddenly goes slack.

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