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Xcel Energy aims to fine-tune renewable energy forecasts

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Xcel Energy Inc. is working with the National Center for Atmospheric Research on developing more sophisticated weather forecasts specific to major changes in wind energy, the Star Tribune reports.

Executives with the Minneapolis-based utility tell the newspaper better predictions about how much energy the turbines might produce should improve its renewable energy efficiency and save millions of dollars.

“Xcel Energy has been the nation’s largest utility provider of wind energy for the last nine years, and as our renewable energy portfolio continues to grow, accurate forecasts become increasingly important,” Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy, said in a news release.

“By creating more detailed and accurate forecasts of wind and sun, we can produce a major return on investment for utilities,” added Thomas Bogdan, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which manages NCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation. “This type of cutting-edge research helps make renewable energy more cost competitive.”

The custom forecasting systems developed by scientists and engineers at the Colorado-based center over the next two years will be used by Xcel Energy control centers in Denver, Minneapolis and Amarillo, Texas.

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