The big two of renewable energy – solar and wind – are weather-dependent on a minute-by-minute basis and the other big one, hydropower, is dependent on it over the course of weeks and months. So it makes sense that ISO-New England, which runs the six-state power grid, wants to get a better sense of what’s happening with the weather as it tries to balance electricity supply and demand.

For years, ISO forecasters have been basing their weather models on information gathered hourly in eight cities, including in New England’s largest centers of electrical demand, Boston and Hartford. Soon the number of cities will grow to 23, better reflecting the variability in weather conditions across New England.

That is from this announcement. It looks like they’re adding Manchester to the information they get in Concord, probably from the National Weather Service’s site at the city airport.

The scope of information gathered is expanding, as well. Until now, the data have covered temperature, dew point, wind speed, and cloud cover. Four new categories are being added: wet bulb temperature, wind direction, precipitation, and solar irradiance.

Wet bulb temperature is a measure of humidity that will complement dew point data and help the ISO refine predictions about when air conditioners will be working hardest and drawing the most electricity. Precipitation data can help forecasters anticipate increased demand related to everything from residential indoor lighting to municipal stormwater pumping stations.

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