OpenOA software enhancements illuminate wind power plant performance

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released version 2.3 of its Open Operational Evaluation (OpenOA) software, which helps demystify wind power plant operations for wind power plant operators.

Version 2.3 of NREL’s Open Operational Assessment (OpenOA) software includes a variety of updates and incorporates a wind power plant layout visualization feature that was developed with the assistance of a wind power plant owner. Photo by Dennis Schroeder

This latest release includes an improved operational data quality control toolkit, hourly energy production calculation, and automated date selection for long-term reference data. Version 2.3 also includes a wind power plant layout visualization feature to create interactive wind farm maps, which was developed with the help of a wind power plant owner.

“OpenOA Version 2.3 includes major enhancements designed to improve the usability of open source software,” said an NREL researcher. Jason Fields, who leads the project team which includes Eric Simley, Nicola Bodini, Jordan Perr-Sauer and Rob Hammond. “The recent release is a direct result of the OpenOA user community suggesting updates that would be essential to the usefulness of the software.”

Crowdsourcing results in a one-of-a-kind tool

OpenOA launched in 2019 as an open source platform for sharing data to advance cutting-edge science for operational energy assessments and address the lack of standardization in the wind industry. The modular design of the code facilitates collaboration and sharing of methods between wind professionals.

Since the launch of OpenOA, more than 100 users have starred the software repository (an action similar to bookmarking a webpage or liking a social media post). Also, more than 40 developers have released different forks or software repositories that allow users to modify the code for their own purposes without affecting the original code.

To begin with, the latest version also integrates third-party data. Although being at sunset in August 2022, Intertrust The PlanetOS Weather Data Application Programming Interface, or API, provides OpenOA users with the weather data needed to estimate long-term energy production at a wind farm.

“OpenOA has benefited from a community of users whose experiences have improved the software over time,” Fields said. “As non-proprietary free software, OpenOA has taken a crowdsourcing approach to informing its development.”

This first-of-its-kind tool standardizes operational analyzes of wind power plants and includes a built-in method for calculating expected annual energy production over the life of a project. OpenOA’s long-term annual energy production analysis can help wind power plant operators identify and analyze the factors that drive plant performance, determine the accuracy of pre-construction energy yield estimates and to facilitate financial transactions involving wind power plants.

To help identify specific sources of discrepancies between pre-construction energy yield ratings and operational power generation – called a gap analysis – OpenOA provides methods for estimating electrical losses, availability losses, and energy efficiency. ideal turbine energy (the energy produced assuming that all turbines are operating normally).

Department of Energy programs led to the development of OpenOA

A validation exercise of energy assessments before the construction of wind farms conducted by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Power Plant Performance and Forecasting Initiative led to the development of OpenOA. The benchmark project provided user feedback from eight major wind power plant owners and 10 third-party consultants. Last year, the NREL OpenOA team released the Benchmark for forecasting the performance of wind power plants Phase 1 technical report, which details this history.

Also helps shape OpenOA version 2.0 has been I-Energy body, a specialized DOE training program that gives national laboratory teams the tools, resources and connections to uncover potential market opportunities for their innovations. Energy I-Corps gave NREL researchers the opportunity to collaborate with and receive user feedback from approximately 70 stakeholders, including wind power plant owners/operators, third-party consultants, analytics firms, open source software professionals and researchers.

Currently, a DOE Technology Commercialization Fund Project allows the OpenOA project team to collaborate with ENTR Alliance, a wind industry consortium. The goal of this project is to develop an easy-to-use data analysis package that combines the standard operational wind power plant data analysis methods in OpenOA with the ENTR universal wind power plant data model. This research supported the development of PlanetOS functionality.

The OpenOA team is also developing a method to estimate wind turbine wake losses and improve the user experience by simplifying the data import process and allowing more data source options.

The OpenOA codebase, written in the common Python coding language, is available via GitHub. External users are invited to contribute to OpenOA by providing feedback and suggesting new features that will improve the functionality of the toolkit and develop new methods for evaluating data.

Learn more about NREL Wind Energy Research and tools. And subscribe to NREL Wind Energy Newsletter for all the latest updates, like this one.

Article courtesy of National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). By Carol Laurie


 


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