|(Photo courtesy of Windlogics Inc.)|
For the past 6 years a St. Paul, Minn., company has gathered scraps left by National Weather Service forecasters, the stream of hour-by-hour observations of atmospheric conditions over North America which are the starting point of their weather predictions.
Its from all over, on a 20-km horizontal spacing, says Mark Ahlstrom, CEO of WindLogics Inc. At each grid point there is a column of data going up multiple levels from the ground ... above 100 m, above 200 m and on up to the stratosphere. Weve got 5 terabytes of data.
WindLogics is on its second round of venture funding. It has a 25-person staff of meteorologists and technologists, backed up by 100 powerful computers serving customers that include utilities studying incorporation of windfarms into grids. Products are analysis, based on the mountain of data, of not only where the wind will blow, but how hard, how often, on what days and hours throughout the year. Xcel Energy, a Minneapolis-based electric utility, is using the service to model the operational impact of adding 1,500 MW of wind power on its grid in six years.