On the impact of small-data diversity on forecasts: evidence from meteorologically-driven electricity demand in Mediterranean zones. (Papers Track)

Reginald Bryant (IBM Research - Africa); Julian Kuehnert (IBM Research)

Time-series Analysis Cities & Urban Planning Climate Science & Modeling Extreme Weather Societal Adaptation & Resilience Uncertainty Quantification & Robustness


In this paper, we compare the improvement of probabilistic electricity demand forecasts for three specific coastal and island regions using raw and pre-computed meteorological features based on empirically-tested formulations drawn from climate science literature. Typically for the general task of time-series forecasting with strong weather/climate drivers, go-to models like the Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) model are built with assumptions of how independent variables will affect a dependent one and are at best encoded with a handful of exogenous features with known impact. Depending on the geographical region and/or cultural practices of a population, such a selection process may yield a non-optimal feature set which would ultimately drive a weak impact on underline demand forecasts. The aim of this work is to assess the impact of a documented set of meteorological features on electricity demand using deep learning models in comparative studies. Leveraging the defining computational architecture of the Temporal Fusion Transformer (TFT), we discover the unimportance of weather features for improving probabilistic forecasts for the targeted regions. However, through experimentation, we discover that the more stable electricity demand of the coastal Mediterranean regions, the Ceuta and Melilla autonomous cities in Morocco, improved the forecast accuracy of the strongly tourist-driven electricity demand for the Balearic islands located in Spain during the time of travel restrictions (i.e., during COVID19 (2020))--a root mean squared error (RMSE) from ~0.090 to ~0.012 with a substantially improved 10th/90th quantile bounding.