[UC43] Load Forecasting

Consumer Rates and Programs
Grid Planning

A use case for accurate load forecasting for utilities to operate efficiently, ensure reliable power supply, and lower costs.

The Utility Problem

There are multiple reasons why load forecasting is an important activity for any electrical utility.

Resource planning & Energy Management – electricity cannot be easily stored on a large scale, and the energy produced must be consumed immediately. Accurate load forecasting allows utilities to plan better for future energy generation and distribution needs. This can help to ensure that there is enough power available to meet demand and avoid blackouts or brownouts. In addition, by forecasting future load, utilities can make more informed decisions about when to generate and purchase power and when to use energy storage systems. This can help to reduce costs and optimize energy usage.

Asset management – forecasting is important in terms of knowing whether the power system will be able to accommodate new demand (or whether there will be overloading in some areas). It is not reasonable to reinforce the grid only when the maximum capacity is exhausted because of the long investment horizons involved in reinforcing the grid (construction of a transformer station, construction of a new line including all permitting processes, etc.).

Price forecasting – accurate load forecasting can also help utilities to predict changes in energy prices. This can help them to make better decisions about buying and selling energy on the wholesale market.

Maintenance scheduling – load forecasting can help utilities to schedule maintenance of power generating and distribution infrastructure. This can prevent breakdowns and improve the reliability of the power supply. Additionally, this helps utilities conduct planned outages during times with the lowest impact.

Compliance & Regulatory relations – utilities need to comply with various regulations and standards, and accurate load forecasting helps them to ensure compliance with these regulations.

Customer service – by forecasting load patterns, utilities can also predict high-demand periods and proactively communicate with customers about potential service disruptions or design customer motivation opportunities for shifting the load.

Overall, accurate load short-term or long-term forecasting is critical for utilities to operate efficiently and effectively, maintain a reliable power supply, and reduce costs. For these reasons, it is important to have tools and processes which allow for such accurate forecasting.


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