Friday, June 26, 2015

What's New in Energy Forecasting - Jun 2015

It's time for the mid-year report and summary of the exciting events in the energy forecasting community:

1. Global Energy Forecasting Competition 2014

The competition was launched in August 2014 and ended in December 2014. We are now in the stage of post-competition activities, such as organizing conference presentations and paper publications. Many finalists of the competition will gather at the IEEE PES General Meeting 2015. The papers are expected to be published in the IJF special issue on probabilistic energy forecasting in early 2016. To follow the update of this competition and future events, please join this LinkedIn group.

2. Activities at IEEE PES General Meeting

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On Normality Assumption in Residual Simulation for Probabilistic Load Forecasting

I have been so fortunate to work with many talents in both industry and academia. Their involvement has added significant values to most, if not all, of my research projects. This paper is the result of one of those great examples.

The motivation of this project was simple. We were interested in improving the forecasts we produced for NCEMC a few years ago. (You can check our TSG2014 paper for the methodology we used to produce the previous forecasts. The same methodology was used in my recent EISPC/NARUC report.)

The initial idea was simple, too. Since all forecasts have errors, we would like to see if modeling and simulating the residuals can help improve the probabilistic forecasts. We expect an YES answer, because so many papers in the literature have reported a very similar approach. We also had a little doubt, because none of those papers really verified the approach via any formal error measures for probabilistic forecasting.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Energy Forecasting Talks at ISF2015

It's only one week toward the International Symposium on Forecasting 2015. I took a brief look at the program and found 5 sessions including 14 talks on energy forecasting. The at-a-glance program schedule is available HERE.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Energy Forecasting Activities at PESGM2015

IEEE Power & Energy Society just released the technical program agenda for PESGM2015. I'm pleased to highlight the two days on energy forecasting organized by our working group.

Saturday, July 26, 2015

Energy Forecasting in the Smart Grid Era (full-day tutorial)
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Instructors: Tao Hong, Shu Fan, Hamidreza Zareipour, and Pierre Pinson

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Probabilistic Load Forecasting via Quantile Regression Averaging on Sister Forecasts

Although the probabilistic load forecasting literature can be traced back to 1970s, the importance of the subject was not well recognized until recent years. There are several approaches to producing probabilistic load forecasts, such as generating weather scenarios to feed to point forecasting models, applying probabilistic modeling and forecasting techniques, and identifying the density function of residuals. This paper starts a whole new category for probabilistic load forecasting methods - combining point load forecasts.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

HONG Analytics LLC

I started my career as a consultant when I was pursuing my first MS degree. Then I developed my MS thesis and PhD dissertation, each from a consulting project. Both of them were later commercialized and now being used by many utilities worldwide. Most of my research ideas were inspired by the consulting projects through working closely with the utility analysts, managers and executives. After testing and validating these research ideas through several field implementations, I converted them to teaching materials for my courses. These courses fully packed with solid fundamental knowledge, best industry practices, advanced topics and a wide range of case studies have been very well received by the industry (see what the clients are saying), generating even more consulting business.

As mentioned in why I left a great place to work - from industry to academia, majority of my academic job is made of consulting, teaching and research. Going through such a cycle has been quite rewarding for both my clients and myself. Nevertheless, some of my clients are still complaining about the lengthy and verbose contracting process. To make the cycle even more enjoyable and productive, I decided to incorporate HONG Analytics LLC to formally house my consulting practices outside the university.

HONG Analytics provides premium training and consulting services in the area of energy and retail analytics. While being a full-time professor, I can allocate up to one day per week of my time to HONG Analytics. I would like to take on those projects that are relatively small in scale (i.e., less than $100k) and relatively short in performance period (i.e., less than 6 months). While I'm happy to help with conventional short and long term load forecasting projects, I would give preference to the projects that are challenging and requiring heavy-duty analytics. Since revenue is not the a KPI of my business, I am also willing to provide the services free of charge for those projects with high value to the industry.

For more information, please visit

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

BigDEAL Students Receiving Awards from Lee College of Engineering

Today (April 21, 2015), William States Lee College of Engineering hosted an award luncheon to celebrate student achievements. I'm very pleased to see two of our BigDEAL students being recognized in this event:
Moreover, we had the first full house today with all BigDEAL members gathered on campus. Here is a selfie we took after the award luncheon. Thanks to Bidong's selfie stick :)
BigDEAL Selfie - Spring 2015
Congratulations, Rain and Bidong!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Language for Rejecting Energy Forecasting Papers

As a volunteer in the peer review system, I'm handling (as an editor & editor-in-chief) and reviewing (as a reviewer) at least 10 papers per month. While I try to perform thorough review for each paper following these four steps, the consequence is that I spend more time helping others improve and publish papers than working on my own papers. As the editorial workload keeps growing, I have been trying to figure out a more efficient way of performing editorial services. One phenomenon I have observed is that most papers (about 80% or more) get rejected at the end. Most of my editorial services are for top journals such as TSG and IJF, of which the rejection rate is even higher than 80%. In fact many papers share similar reasons for rejection. I guess one way is to standardize the rejection language, so that I don't have to type the same reasons each time. To save time for other editors and reviewers in the same peer review system, I would be more than happy to share the following rejection language.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Jiali Liu - The First Alumna of BigDEAL

Today (April 16, 2015), Jiali Liu just defended her MS thesis on combining sister load forecasts, which made her the second graduate of BigDEAL. Since the first BigDEAL graduate Rain is continuing her PhD study here, Jiali becomes the first alumna of BigDEAL.

Jiali received her bachelor degree in International Business and Trade from Wuhan University of Technology, and her second bachelor degree in Business Administration from University of Pittsburgh, both in 2012. In August 2013, Jiali joined the Master of Science in Engineering Management program of UNC Charlotte. In May 2014. She joined BigDEAL to conduct MS thesis research under my supervision. She received her SAS Base Programmer and SAS Advanced Programmer certifications in summer 2014. She was part of the BigDEAL team winning the Analytics2014 poster contest. She was also a key contributor to the EISPC/NARUC Load Forecasting Case Study. She participated in the Global Energy Forecasting Competition 2014 with a top 8 place in the probabilistic wind power forecasting track.

Jiali received her Graduate Certificate in Energy Analytics in December 2014. This May, she will receive her MS in Engineering Management degree with a concentration in Energy Systems. After that, Jiali will move to Raleigh working as a Business Analyst at Evalueserve.

Congratulations, Jiali, and all the best!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Crystal Ball Lessons in Predictive Analytics

For a long time, I have had the idea of writing an article about "how much benefit are we getting from reducing load forecast errors". A few months ago I got a request from EnergyBiz to contribute an article. I thought this "valuation" topic would be a good fit. So here is Crystal Ball Lessons in Predictive Analytics.