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Investigation of electricity demand, solar and wind generation as target variables in LSTM time series forecasting, using exogenous weather variables

Shering, T., Alonso, E. ORCID: 0000-0002-3306-695X & Apostolopoulou, D. (2024). Investigation of electricity demand, solar and wind generation as target variables in LSTM time series forecasting, using exogenous weather variables. Energies, 17(8), article number 1827. doi: 10.3390/en17081827


Accurately forecasting energy metrics is essential for efficiently managing renewable energy generation. Given the high variability in load and renewable energy power output, this represents a crucial area of research in order to pave the way for increased adoption of low-carbon energy solutions. Whilst the impact of different neural network architectures and algorithmic approaches has been researched extensively, the impact of utilising additional weather variables into forecasts has received far less attention. This article demonstrates that weather variables can have a significant influence on energy forecasting, and presents methodologies for using these variables within a long short-term memory (LSTM) architecture to achieve improvements in forecasting accuracy. Moreover, we introduce the use of the seasonal components of target time series, as exogenous variables, that are also observed to increase accuracy. Load, solar and wind generation time series were forecast one hour ahead using an LSTM architecture. Time series data was collected in five Spanish cities and aggregated for analysis, alongside five exogenous weather variables, also recorded in Spain. A variety of LSTM architectures and hyperparameters were investigated. By tuning exogenous weather variables, a 33% decrease in mean squared error was observed for solar generation forecasting. A 22% decrease in mean absolute squared error (MASE), compared to 24-hour ahead forecasts made by the Transmission Service Operator (TSO) in Spain, was also observed for solar generation. Compared to using the target variable in isolation, utilising exogenous weather variables decreased MASE by approximately 10%, 15% and 12% for load, solar and wind generation respectively. By using the seasonal component of the target variables as an exogenous variable itself, we demonstrated decreases in MASE of 19%, 12% and 8% for load, solar and wind generation respectively. These results emphasise the significant benefits of incorporating weather and seasonal components into energy-related time series forecasts.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Publisher Keywords: time series forecasting; exogenous variables; seasonal decomposition; LSTMs
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Science & Technology
School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
SWORD Depositor:
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[thumbnail of revised-3-energies-2907389.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.


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