Saturday, August 15, 2015

Machine 'learners' compute cloud cover to balance power supplies (DAINA BETH SOLOMON, 8/16/15, LA Times)

Hendrik Hamann is into cloud computing — as in real clouds, those puffy things in the sky.

Working at IBM alongside some of the computer giant's most advanced systems, Hamann and his team seek a breakthrough in cloud-cover forecasting. They're aiming to help ease the introduction of solar electricity into the nation's major power grids, as solar-generated power is increasingly being loaded onto the grid, propelled by government mandates and solar-technology price declines.

There's a big problem with solar power that the IBM team is trying to solve: You can't pump out much electricity on a cloudy day.