Author: US DOE  Staff   Published: 2/7/2023   EERE 

U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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DOE Launches New Prize to Increase Stability and Reliability of Clean Energy Grid 

Net Load Prize image

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the American-Made Net Load Forecasting Prize, which is designed to increase adoption of the state-of-the-art in net load forecasting. The net load of an electric grid is the difference between the total electricity demand, and the electricity generation from behind-the-meter resources such as solar and other distributed generators. Having advanced knowledge of the net load allows grid operators to use solar generation and other energy resources more effectively.

This Prize supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a decarbonized grid by 2035 by helping grid operators plan and dispatch power in a cost-efficient way. As more solar is added, grid operators need tools to help integrate it while maintaining stability and reliability. 

Forecasts submitted by competing teams will be compared to benchmark models using the DOE-funded Solar Forecast Arbiter platform. The Prize incentivizes forecast providers to demonstrate the quality and performance of their probabilistic forecasting tools to the larger forecasting industry, while also promoting the adoption of probabilistic forecasts in grid operations. 

The Net Load Forecasting Prize builds on the Solar Forecasting Prize, which incentivized solar forecast providers to develop and potentially commercialize tools that generate probabilistic forecasts of solar irradiance, and the Solar Forecasting 2 funding program, which, among other things, developed probabilistic forecasts that enable grid operators to calculate when and how much reserve power is necessary to maintain a healthy grid. 

The Prize is open to forecasting industry organizations that cater to utilities, system operators, and power plant owners, as well as academic teams with machine learning capabilities that are interested in forecasting. Competitors are required to submit daily day-ahead probabilistic net load forecasts, with an hourly resolution, over the course of four weeks and across multiple distinct climatic locations in the United States. The Solar Forecast Arbiter will be used to evaluate how well each competitor’s forecasts performed compared to a benchmark forecast. By using the Arbiter for comparing forecast performance, the Prize helps demonstrate the feasibility of fair, transparent, and high-quality evaluations of probabilistic net load forecasts using a publicly available open-source platform. 

This Prize offers up to $600,000 in cash prizes, with three anticipated winners and three anticipated runners-up. Application materials are due March 27, 2023Register to competeread the prize rules (PDF), and register for a webinar about the prize on Feb. 20.