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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Capacity value of wind power, load forecasting, weather reanalysis, multiple linear regression, weather-driven power generation, load response to weather


The capacity value (CV) of a power generation unit indicates the extent to which it contributes to the generation system adequacy of a region’s bulk power system. Given the capricious nature of the wind resource, determining wind generation’s CV is nontrivial, but can be understood simply as how well its power output temporally correlates with a region’s electricity load during times of system need. Both wind generation and load are governed by weather phenomena that exhibit variability across all timescales, including low frequency weather cycles that span decades. Thus, a data-driven determination of wind’s CV should involve the use of long-term (i.e., multiple decades) coincident load and wind data. In addition to the challenge of finding high-quality, long-term wind data, existing load data more than several years old is of limited utility due to shifting end usage patterns that alter a region’s electricity load profile. Due to a lack of long-term data, current industry practice does not adequately account for the effects of weather variability in CV calculations. To that end, the objective of this thesis is to develop a model to “hindcast” what the historic regional load in New England would have been if governed by the conjoined influence of historic weather and a more current load profile. Modeling focuses exclusively on summer weekdays since this period is typically the most influential on CV.

The summer weekday model is developed using multiple linear regression (MLR), and features a separate hour-based model for eight sub-regions within New England. A total of eighty-four candidate weather predictors are made available to the model, including lagged temperature, humidity, and solar insolation variables. A reanalysis weather dataset produced by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – the Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) dataset – is used since it offers data homogeneity throughout New England over multiple decades, and includes atmospheric fields that may be used for long-term wind resource characterization. Weather regressors are selected using both stepwise regression and a genetic algorithm(GA) based method, and the resulting models and their performance are compared. To avoid a tendency for overfitting, the GA-based method employs triple cross-validation as a fitness function. Results indicate a regional mean absolute percent error (MAPE) of less than 3% over all hours of the summer weekday period, suggesting that the modeling approach developed as part of this research has merit and that further development of the hindcasting model is warranted.


First Advisor

Jon G McGowan

Second Advisor

James F. Manwell