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Harnessing the Power of Weather Data in complex industrial systems

Harnessing the Power of Weather Data in complex industrial systems

Posted on 13 May 2024

When you need to innovate, you need collaboration. - Marissa Mayer

As Marissa Mayer understood, the ability to collaborate can lead to a host of different doors to open. The automation, control, and application of technology to create technological collaboration is playing an increasingly important role in a wide range of different applications and industries. 

Notions such as the Internet of Things (IoT) now have support from major cloud providers. However, the use of specific, user-controlled applications that bring together a complex network of related entities into a single, coherent application are also being seen as a core organization and controlling tool.

SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems are now an essential element for managing and monitoring large-scale industrial processes, and often form the backbone of critical infrastructure and industrial processes. These systems provide user-friendly screens, giving operators a complete overview of their system, allowing them to remotely control equipment, change settings, and react quickly to any issues.

In this blog post, we will look at how the weather, being one of the few omnipresent elements in almost all systems, can be easily incorporated into SCADA systems to add an additional layer of functionality through the use of OpenWeather products, and the use of weather data in a wide range of real-world SCADA applications.

How OpenWeather is already being used in SCADA

PcVue, edited by ARC Informatique, is a secure and robust SCADA platform, dedicated to the monitoring and control of applications in markets such as Buildings, Energy, Transportation, and Industry. PCVue demonstrates how OpenWeather APIs can be used as part of critical infrastructure monitoring SCADA systems.

PcVue's innovative integration of OpenWeatherMap's Solar Irradiance and Energy Prediction Service into a solar plant's monitoring system in Italy showcases the value, versatility and accuracy of our data. With this integration, plant operators now have the ability to:

  • Forecast energy production: Accurately predict output for informed decision-making.

  • Monitor performance: Track real-time efficiency and compare it to forecasts.

  • Optimize operations: Streamline processes and confidently presell energy.

(This is only one among as many possible cases of application as there are unique projects. PcVue uses Openweather APIs with only one goal in mind: facilitating the operation of critical infrastructure thanks to the inclusion of accurate weather forecast into its SCADA offer.)

Uses for weather data in SCADA

Power Generation and Transmission

Xcel Energy: Xcel Energy, a major utility provider, employs sophisticated weather analytics integrated with its SCADA system. By analyzing historical weather patterns and real-time data, their models accurately predict energy demand spikes. This allows them to increase energy generation proactively, ensuring a reliable power supply even during extreme heat or cold snaps.

National Grid: The UK's National Grid utilizes weather forecasts in their SCADA system to anticipate potential disruptions from severe storms. This advanced warning system helps them mobilize response teams, isolate vulnerable sections of the grid, and minimize the impact of power outages.

Water Management

Smart Irrigation:  In the face of water scarcity, Australian farmers are widely adopting SCADA-enabled smart irrigation systems. These systems utilize weather stations to collect data on rainfall, temperature, and soil moisture. Automated irrigation schedules ensure optimal water use, boosting crop yields while conserving precious water resources.

Thames Water (UK): Thames Water, responsible for managing London's water supply, relies on SCADA systems integrated with rainfall forecasts. This integration enables proactive management of reservoirs and pumping stations. It  helps them anticipate and mitigate heavy rainfall leading to overflow events, reducing the risk of environmental pollution.

This allows them to take action before problems arise, safeguarding rivers and streams and preventing overflows. Since implementing this innovative approach, Thames Water boasts zero discharges of untreated water.

Oil and Gas

Shell (Gulf of Mexico): Shell has deployed advanced SCADA systems on its offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. These systems continuously monitor weather and oceanographic data, providing vital information on approaching hurricanes or tropical storms. This early warning system is crucial for making data-driven decisions about evacuation, asset protection, and operational adjustments, ensuring safety and minimizing downtime.

Pipeline Monitoring:  Canadian pipeline operators use SCADA systems that incorporate weather data and ground temperature monitoring. With frequent freeze-thaw cycles posing a risk to pipeline integrity, real-time alerts triggered by potential ground shifts  enable targeted inspections and minimize leaks and ruptures.


Automotive Manufacturing: A leading German automobile manufacturer uses a SCADA system integrated with hyperlocal weather forecasting. This system provides alerts about hailstorms or heavy downpours that could damage newly manufactured vehicles stored outdoors. The alerts allow for timely actions, such as deploying protective covers or moving vehicles to sheltered areas.

Food Processing:  Food processing plants often have strict temperature and humidity requirements to maintain product quality. SCADA systems incorporating weather data can regulate Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems more effectively. Additionally, early warnings about extreme external temperatures can aid in adjusting logistics and transport to protect temperature-sensitive products.

How OpenWeather is helping

The use of OpenWeather products also allows other solar energy generation installations to reduce their natural  susceptibility to weather events using:

Historical Analysis: Analyze historical weather patterns against performance records to identify correlations between weather conditions and systems performance, including storage solutions.

KPI Comparisons: Compare these weather-influenced performance trends against established Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to better understand efficiency variations.

Forecasting for Efficiency: Utilize current and forecasted weather data to predict the performance of solar panels. This allows for proactive adjustments to operations and integration with storage systems for optimal energy management.

The OpenWeather Solar Irradiance and Energy Prediction Service consists of:

Solar Irradiance API:

Provides daily solar irradiation aggregation, offering 15-minute and 1-hour detailed information for the requested day.

  • Includes solar irradiation data (DNI, DHI, GHI) for both cloudy and clear sky models.

  • Presents a forecast for the next 15 days and historical data from January 1, 1979.

  • Global coverage

Solar Panel Energy Prediction API:

Allows users to estimate the energy output of a specific PV panel based on its technical characteristics (panel type, tilt, azimuth angle and panel size or power peak) and our solar data.

  • API response includes daily solar panel power output data for each panel with 1-hour and 15-minute details.

  • Provides essential solar irradiance data (DNI, GHI, and DHI) with 15-minute, and 1-hour details.

  • Offers data spanning over 40 years (from January 1, 1979) and forecasts up to 15 days ahead.

  • Global coverage.

About OpenWeather:

OpenWeather provides weather data for any location on the globe using a proprietary hyperlocal forecasting model with a resolution from 500 m to 2 km, globally. More than 6,000,000 customers from logistics, agriculture, insurance, energy, retail, and many other sectors, are working with the company's weather products. 

OpenWeather cooperates with global meteorological agencies such as MetOffice and NOAA, and enhances its model with data from radars, weather stations and satellites. The company provides great availability of service at 99.9% for enterprise-level products. 

The products can be easily integrated into complex IT systems and are ideal for ML analytic systems. OpenWeather is a member of Royal Meteorological Society and an Achilles-certified supplier. OpenWeather ethical initiatives include support of educators and students, not-for-profit subscriptions for the general public to increase weather awareness, and recent Ukrainian donation programme.

For more information on how to gain access to our OpenWeather products, please email us.

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