The future of forecasting for renewable energy

Conor Sweeney*, Ricardo J. Bessa, Jethro Browell, Pierre Pinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review


Forecasting for wind and solar renewable energy is becoming more important as the amount of energy generated from these sources increases. Forecast skill is improving, but so too is the way forecasts are being used. In this paper, we present a brief overview of the state-of-the-art of forecasting wind and solar energy. We describe approaches in statistical and physical modeling for time scales from minutes to days ahead, for both deterministic and probabilistic forecasting. Our focus changes then to consider the future of forecasting for renewable energy. We discuss recent advances which show potential for great improvement in forecast skill. Beyond the forecast itself, we consider new products which will be required to aid decision making subject to risk constraints. Future forecast products will need to include probabilistic information, but deliver it in a way tailored to the end user and their specific decision making problems. Businesses operating in this sector may see a change in business models as more people compete in this space, with different combinations of skills, data and modeling being required for different products. The transaction of data itself may change with the adoption of blockchain technology, which could allow providers and end users to interact in a trusted, yet decentralized way. Finally, we discuss new industry requirements and challenges for scenarios with high amounts of renewable energy. New forecasting products have the potential to model the impact of renewables on the power system, and aid dispatch tools in guaranteeing system security. This article is categorized under: Energy Infrastructure > Systems and Infrastructure Wind Power > Systems and Infrastructure Photovoltaics > Systems and Infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere365
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment
Issue number2
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Business models
  • Industry challenges
  • Numerical weather prediction
  • Renewable energy
  • Statistical modelling


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