Safety equipment: Specific weather data supports utilities’ critical decisions

safety equipment Schneider Electric

Utility safety: Utilities can better prepare for weather with Schneider Electric WeatherSentry Weather Station. Specific weather data supports utilities’ critical decisions. Most weather data is generated by official weather observation stations that can be dozens of miles from facilities, commonly located at airports. Yet, utilities are increasingly demanding precise, location specific weather data and forecasts to facilitate critical decision support systems. To address the need for accurate, hyper-local weather data, Schneider Electric is launching its latest WeatherSentry Weather Station with the highest level of accuracy.

After managing a network of over 4,000 locations in the agriculture industry with its hyper-local weather stations, Schneider Electric is now releasing its newest WeatherSentry Weather Station that is focused to meet the needs of utilities ­ enabling precise forecasts for a utility’s service area and asset locations. Precise weather data is critical to utilities’ load forecasting efforts in order to understand how much power needs to be generated to meet demand. Utilities need to be aware of the temperature and its fluctuations in its service area. For example, if forecasted temperatures are off by only one degree, the need to buy or shed load can cost a utility up to $500,000 a day. Because utilities’ service areas are so large and typically cover multiple geographies, WeatherSentry Weather Stations can provide on the ground weather intelligence for a specific area and allow Schneider Electric to provide a more detailed, specific forecast.

Weather stations are equally important for integrating renewable generation onto the grid. A utility that integrates wind and solar power into the grid must understand the weather to determine how these variable sources will perform. Localized data from WeatherSentry Weather Stations at solar and wind farms provide utilities with more accurate information and better solar and wind forecasts, helping to reduce costly power shortages and avoid surplus generation. As renewable energy generation sources become more distributed, it is even more critical to have scalable sources of weather data at generation sites.

Hyper-local weather stations benefit utility operations by providing more detailed information about severe weather conditions as they develop. Disruptive weather, such as lightning, thunderstorms and high winds, are not as easy to predict as hurricanes and blizzards, and can knock out just as many power lines.

WeatherSentry Weather Stations provide utilities with more complete information, such as how fast the wind speed was when power lines were knocked down at a specific location. Utilities can then develop location specific metrics to better understand at what wind speed similar damages will occur in that area in the future, allowing for better preparation, faster restoration and enhanced customer service. These historical correlations coupled with hyper-local forecasts provide the foundation for advanced outage forecast systems, which help the utility understand crew and resource impacts.

Utilities can install professional grade sensors at their chosen locations to gather highly accurate weather readings for a specific area. Data is then collected directly from the WeatherSentry Weather Station via Schneider Electric’s cloud-based data management service. From there, data is sent to the meteorological operations center for integration into its best-in-class forecasting models, and then delivered. Local data access via Modbus TCP also is available, enabling real-time access to precise atmospheric conditions that can be used within existing process control or operator displays.

About Schneider Electric
As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Utilities & Infrastructure, Industries & Machines Manufacturers, Non-residential Building, Data Centers & Networks and in Residential. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the Group's 170,000 employees achieved revenues of 25 billion euros in 2014, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.

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