OpenOA Software Improvements Enhances the Performance of Wind Plant

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Version 2.3 of the Open Operational Assessment software (OpenOA) by The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has been released. This software helps to simplify wind plant operations for operators.

The latest version includes an enhanced operational data quality-control toolkit and hourly energy production calculation. It also features automated date selection for long term reference data. Version 2.3 includes a feature that visualizes wind farm layouts, which can be used to create interactive maps of wind farms. This feature was created with the assistance of a wind power plant operator.

Jason Fields, NREL researcher, said that OpenOA Version 2.3 contains major enhancements that are intended to improve the useability of open-source software. He leads the project team, which includes Eric Simley and Nicola Bodini as well as Jordan Perr-Sauer and Rob Hammond. OpenOA’s users suggested updates that would improve the software’s utility. This resulted in the recent release.

Crowdsourcing Results in a First-of-its-kind Tool

OpenOA was launched in 2019 to provide an open-source platform to share data and advance science in operational energy assessments. It also aims to improve standardization in the wind sector. Modular design of the code makes it easy to encourage collaboration and method sharing among professionals in the wind industry.

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More than 100 people have starred OpenOA’s software repository since its launch. This is similar to liking a post on social media or bookmarking a webpage. Over 40 developers have also started different forks. These software repositories allow users to modify the code without having to alter the original.

The latest version integrates third-party information in a first. Intertrust’s PlanetOS Weather Data Application Programming Interface (or API) provides OpenOA users with the data they need to calculate long-term energy production at wind power plants, despite it being retired in August 2022.

Fields stated that OpenOA has benefited from the contributions of a user community whose experiences have helped to improve the software. OpenOA is a free, non-proprietary software that uses crowd-sourcing to inform its development.

This tool is the first of its kind and standardizes the operational analysis of wind power plants. It also includes a method to calculate the expected annual energy production over a project’s lifetime. OpenOA’s long term analysis of annual energy production can be used to assist wind power plant operators in identifying and analyzing the factors that influence plant performance. It also helps determine the accuracy and reliability of preconstruction energy yield estimates.

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OpenOA uses methods to estimate electrical losses, availability losses and turbine ideal energy. This is used to identify discrepancies in preconstruction energy yield assessments and operating energy production.

OpenOA Development Leads to Energy Department Programs

OpenOA was developed through a validation exercise of wind farm preconstruction energy assessment conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Plant Performance and Prediction Benchmark initiative. The benchmark project received feedback from 10 third-party consultants and eight wind power plant owners. The NREL OpenOA team published the Wind Plant Performance Prediction Benchmark Phase 1 technical document last year. This report details the history.

OpenOA Version 2.0 was also shaped by Energy I-Corps. This specialized DOE training program empowers national laboratories teams with the resources, tools, and relationships they need to find potential market opportunities for their innovations. Energy I-Corps provided NREL researchers with the opportunity to work with approximately 70 stakeholders including third-party consultants and analysts, wind power plant owners/operators, researchers, and open-source software developers.

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Currently, the DOE Technology Commercialization Fund project allows the OpenOA project team collaboration with the ENTR Alliance. This consortium is a part of the wind industry. This project aims to create an easy-to use data analysis software package that combines OpenOA’s standard wind plant data analysis methods with the ENTR universal data model. This research was instrumental in the development of PlanetOS.

OpenOA is also working on a method to estimate wind turbine wake losses. This will improve user experience and simplify the data-importing process.

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