Power Generation tagging, and a rather neat way of tagging wind farms

Posted by scruss on 2 February 2015 in English (English)

The Power tagging scheme went through quite a bit of thought in 2013. Unfortunately, living on only a couple of OSM mailing lists, I didn't get to see any of the discussion. While most of the suggestions are pretty reasonable (if occasionally requiring improbably levels of system knowledge likely only known to employees) one part confuses me: generator:source vs generator:method.

For wind power, there's only one source: generator:source=wind; but then, what new information does generator:method=wind_turbine add? It seems to be wholly redundant.

The Wind Farm Tagging Thing

Anyway, while adding a small wind farm near where I grew up, I noticed a rather neat convention for grouping turbines into a wind farm: using a relation, as in:

  <relation id='4515485'>
    <member type='node' ref='3308390472' role='generator' />
    <member type='node' ref='3308390473' role='generator' />
    <member type='node' ref='3308390474' role='generator' />
      <!-- … more member nodes, one for each turbine -->
    <tag k='name' v='Middleton Wind Farm' />
    <tag k='site' v='wind_farm' />
    <tag k='type' v='site' />

(real link: Middleton Wind Farm)

This is a tidy way of grouping turbines, as many wind farms aren't clearly enclosed. You could have all sorts of roles for transmission lines, control rooms, visitor centres, …

I'm pleased to see that the tagging scheme seems to be informally named after Carland Cross wind farm. Carland Cross was the first wind farm I worked on. Here's a view over to Newquay, as it looked to me in the summer of 1993: We thought 400 kW turbines were huge in those days ...

Location: Westacres, Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, Scotland, G77 6ZS, United Kingdom

Comment from InfosReseaux on 2 February 2015 at 05:14


Thank you for dealing with power infrastructure on OSM :)

All the model regarding power generation was discussed on a wiki proposal Have a look to the Power Generation refinement proposal document.

Generator:source and generator:method weren't only introduced for wind turbines. Many other share the stage and this was a consistent way to let them all co-exist. Furthermore, room left for any other technique than method=wind_turbine to convert energy from wind.

I never heard of any "wind_farm" relation. If the farm actually exists as a whole, please add power=plant to your relation as described on this key's page. Some other infos can be added like the total output power of the facility with plant:output:electricity

Feel free to contact me for any question : or User:Fanfouer on wiki.

All the best

Comment from Sanderd17 on 2 February 2015 at 11:45

I guess for wind, generator:source=wind_turbine might be too general.

There's a big difference between wind turbine size, the number of vanes, or even strange shaped like these examples:

Comment from mcld on 3 February 2015 at 08:33

Oh I like this use of the site relation - neat

Comment from Dragons8mycat on 3 February 2015 at 11:57

You ever need any advice on renewable energy infrastructure and how its's used by industry, give me a shout. Happy to help - My profile:

The most current and informative information on renewable energy in the UK is the Restats database: This is the definitive government source. Of course there are others but this is what drives the parliament decisions.

In practice, most users are concerned with the Turbine (hub) height, Rotor diameter & the location, this can mostly be derived from the turbine type as well as power.

What a lot of people miss is the infrastructure that goes with it, there will always be a substation and tracks for delivering the equipment & an spare equipment store. Of course this is only relevant to the real renewables nerd but often seen on aerial imagery.

Comment from scruss on 3 February 2015 at 12:47

Thanks, Dragons8mycat, but I think I've got this one. Over the last 20 years, I've prospected, designed, operated, consulted on or provided due-diligence services to around 3 GW of installed wind plants worldwide.

My complaint about method vs source is that it's redundant in almost all technologies. We should tag for what's here now, rather than create grandiose, impractical schemes that cover all future eventualities. None of us know what we're doing, after all …

Comment from scruss on 5 February 2015 at 02:56

Oh, and a couple of points I forgot to address that commenters helpfully brought up:

  • InfosReseaux - what with collector system losses, derated/oddly-rated turbines (I've operated a few that easily run at 120% nameplate), it's very hard to enter a useful plant:output:electricity for a wind farm.

  • Sanderd17 - yes, I know about other designs, but they're vanishingly rare compared to 3-blade HAWTs, and aren't very useful as generators.

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