The foreseen depletion of the fossil resources is forcing us to seek for new energy sources. The everyday issue of the climate change claims for non-pollutant solutions. In addition, it is expected that the demand for electricity will strongly increase between 2006 and 2030. Therefore, it is unavoidable the transition to more and more renewable energy shares. In this scenario, solar and wind energy are probably the only energy solutions that are acceptable enough to sustain the planet's long term requirements.
However, as solar and wind energies are strongly dependent on highly variable weather, increased penetration rates will lead to strong fluctuations in the electricity grid. Therefore, renewable energies cannot guarantee the amount of energy which is requested by the users and secondary support energy sources are required. Consequently, accurate assessments and forecasts of the resources are pivotal for optimal sitting of the facilities and improved planning and operating decisions.
In this project we address the development of the methods for assessing and forecasting the solar resource using Numerical Weather Prediction models, the current state of the art in weather modelling. The first phase will be conducted at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the USA, one of the foremost centers in weather modelling, and coordinated by the University of Jaén. This project will help to promote the solar production in Europe and to increase its penetration in the electricity grid. It will contribute to meet the increasing demand of electricity, to decrease the emission of greenhouse gases, and also to overcome the dependency of energy imports from outside Europe.