O&R, Central Hudson, UAlbany Partner to Develop Weather Forecasting Tool
Orange & Rockland (O&R) and Central Hudson Gas & Electric (CHGE) are collaborating with UAlbany’s Center of Excellence in Weather & Climate Analytics (COE) and Electrical Distribution Design (EDD) to develop a new weather forecasting tool that will provide real-time predictions on storm outages, electrical load and renewable energy generation.
That data, which will be displayed on a customizable dashboard, can better equip utility companies to make important decisions more efficiently on how to prepare for weather-induced power outages and variations in renewable energy production.
The project, spearheaded by COE, will use a combination of New York State Mesonet data and Integrated System Models (ISMs) to develop the tool.
The NYS Mesonet, headquartered at UAlbany, includes 126 standard weather observation stations across the state. The network provides an array of real-time weather measurements that can help with situational awareness for both storms and renewables generation.
Along with NYS Mesonet data, this new forecasting tool will leverage other publicly available weather data sources, including sensors that are being installed now through the project at large New York solar farms.
O&R and CHG&E also are providing their own data from previously existing ISMs, which will be combined for the first time through this project. The dashboard will initially be customized for them, but can expand to assist other utilities statewide, according to Nick Bassill, director of research and development at UAlbany’s COE.
The tool will be created in two phases over the next 24 months through $1.7 million in external funding, including a $1.2 million investment from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
“Governor Cuomo’s steadfast commitment to forward thinking technologies has advanced this project, enabling the state’s utilities to harness the New York State Mesonet data to track real-time activities for both storms and renewable energy,” said Doreen M. Harris, acting president and CEO of NYSERDA. “Severe weather events have become our norm as a result of climate change and having live data at our fingertips will be invaluable in helping us improve our statewide preparedness and resiliency in even the most challenging situations.”
UAlbany's COE is New York’s entrepreneurial hub for a network of over 120 weather and climate faculty, researchers, and research staff. Together, these experts are advancing smart weather and climate research applications within a variety of industries. This latest product builds on similar concept dashboards that the COE created for Capital Region BOCES, SUNY and the Department of Transportation, as well as a statewide utility dashboard to use during COVID-19.
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R), a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, is a regulated utility. O&R provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State (where its franchise name is Orange & Rockland) and northern New Jersey (where it’s Rockland Electric Company) and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers in New York.