SIMSIREN Help

All acronyms used in this help are defined in the list of acronyms

SIREN - SEN's Interactive Renewable Energy Network tool

The SEN SAM simulation, SIREN, is used to calculate energy generation for renewable energy power stations. The program uses the SAM SDK API for energy calculations. SAM is provided by the NREL. This help briefly describes how to use the simulation.

Contents

Overview

Welcome to SEN's renewable energy conceptual simulation - SIREN.

The worlds renewable energy resources could provide many times the amount of fossil-fuelled energy currently used. SEN's computer simulation models an electricity network and allows you to create, cost and evaluate scenarios for supplying electricity using a mixture of renewable energy sources.

By placing virtual renewable energy plants around the area of interest, you will be able to determine the optimal locations to access renewable energy sources, minimise grid connection costs and meet the varying demand on the grid, while achieving the best in terms of efficiency, cost effectiveness and energy security.

This version of the Simulation uses the SAM SDK API for energy calculations. SAM is provided by the NREL.

Southern Western Australia (WA)

The default data provided with SIREN is for the SWIS in southern WA but the program(s) have been constructed to cover any geographic area with the appropriate input files. The techniques to create the required data files is documented in Supporting Notes.

About SEN

Sustainable Energy NOW, SEN (sen.asn.au), is a not-for-profit association incorporated in Western Australia (WA) with a focus on renewable energy.

Our Definition of Sustainable Energy: “Energy that is renewable within a human lifetime and can be produced safely and equitably for all time with minimal impact on the environment and future inhabitants”. We believe this does not include nuclear power with its many unresolved issues.

Our Focus: To raise awareness of how a mix of renewable energy technologies are able to meet WA's energy needs, with a particular focus on the main electricity grid, the SWIS.

Our Computer Simulation (SIREN): To demonstrate how electricity demand on the SWIS may be met by a mix of renewable energy sources. Users are able to explore potential location and scale of renewable energy sources (stations, storage, transmission) to meet electricity demand.

Back to top

Installation

At present there is a packaged version of the simulation for Windows available as a self-extracting zip file from https://sourceforge.net/projects/sensiren/ (the package has been created with PyInstaller). There are a number of files available:

Occasionally new versions of some of the SIREN programs will be uploaded to SourceForge. You can check for new versions and download them by selecting the sirenupd option in SIREN. (Major new releases can also be indicated but these will require a complete new SIREN version to be installed.)

To install the required package you can just open/launch it and extract it to your desired location. It may be necessary to execute the program as Administrator.

Possible folder setup for SIREN

To enable new versions of SIREN to be installed without affecting your work a folder structure similar to the following is suggested.

Your Folder   Extract siren_application.exe here
...siren  siren folders and working files
 models  Repository for SIREN Models (Preferences files)
 Your model  Working files for your model
 ...scenarios Scenarios, save files, ...
  weather files SIREN weather files
 Another model  Working files for your second model
 ...scenarios Scenarios, save files, ...
  weather files SIREN weather files

You can indicate the location of your SIREN Models in one of two ways.

  1. Set up a (Desktop) Shortcut with the following Target to invoke SIREN (see below for further details):
          "C:\..Your Folder\siren\siren.exe"
    
  2. Using the folder structure above as an example, set up a (Desktop) Shortcut with the following Target to invoke SIREN:
          "C:\..Your Folder\siren\siren.exe" "..\models"
    

When setting up files and folders in your Preferences file (documented in Preferences) you can use relative addresses to point to the correct location. The addresses are relative to the siren folder. For example:

      [Parents]
      $user1=../Your model
      ...
      [Files]
      solar_files=$user1/weather_files
      ...

Execution of SIREN

To execute the simulation open siren.exe in the upper folder, siren. You can easily set up a Desktop shortcut to point to the model. The package contains a number of folders with default files, some that can be replaced with your own. The location of these files are defined in a Preferences file as documented in Preferences. The default files are located in the following folders:

The first time you open SIREN (without passing a target file or folder) it will present a window titled ‘Choose location for SIREN model (preferences) files’ to allow you to choose the location for your SIREN Models. SIREN stores this location (in siren_models_location.txt in the siren folder) and uses this as the location of the SIREN Models whenever you invoke SIREN without a target file or location.

When you open SIREN you will be presented with a list of SIREN Models (Preferences files). Choose the SIREN Model you want by clicking on your choice. You can sort the list presented in order of either Preferences File, SIREN Model or Date modified (last time the Preferences file was saved) by right-clicking the appropriate column header. If want to use a specific Preferences file you can open the simulation passing the alternate file name, or a folder, as a parameter, as in these examples:

      siren.exe
      siren.exe SIREN_NWIS.ini
      siren.exe ../<folder>/SIREN_NWIS.ini
      siren.exe ../<folder with preferences files>/

If you specify a folder you will be presented with a list of SIREN Models (Preferences files) in that folder. You can either specify the folder as the full path or relative to the siren folder. Placing your models in a separate folder will make it easier to install updates to SIREN without impacting your data files.

If you want to create a new Model press the New Model button on the start up menu. You will be presented with a small list of Properties to update to create a new Preferences file. Many of these properties relate to files and file locations as described in Setting Up. It's important to ensure they're correct for the new model to open. For the file fields click on the field to navigate to the desired file or folder. At the bottom of the Create Preferences file menu you have options to Save the new file, Save the new file and edit it, or Save it and open (launch) the new model. If you specified a folder when you opened SIREN, the new model will be saved in that folder.

SIREN Menu Options

SIREN has a small number of menu options.

Tools Invoke SIREN tools. This will launch the chosen tool as a new task

flexiplot  flexiplot          Invoke flexiplot to create plots from Excel columns or rows (see Flexiplot)
getmap  getmap Invoke getmap to create a map image for SIREN (see Obtaining a Suitable Map Image)
getmerra2  getmerra2 Invoke getmerra2 to download MERRA-2 data files (see Get MERRA-2 Files)
makeweatherfiles  makeweatherfiles Invoke makeweatherfiles to create weather files for SAM (see Produce wind and solar weather files)
powerplot  powerplot Invoke powerplot to create plots from PowerModel and Powermatch outputs (see Powerplot)
sirenupd  sirenupd Occasionally new versions of some of the SIREN programs will be uploaded to SourceForge. You can check for new versions and download them by selecting this option
Help Display some help about the program

Help  Help (F1) Display the help file. The default help file, help.html, is a standard HTML file which can be displayed with your browser
About  About (Ctrl+I) Display details about the simulation including any licensing conditions

Sample SIREN Model

The sample SIREN model for the SWIS for 2014 and 2015. The default Preferences files, SIREN.ini, is set up for this data and assumes the siren_sample folder is located in the same parent folder as the siren folder. The sample data contains:

Experimental features

There are some experimental features in SIREN which may or may not be further developed. These are identified within this help by a red bounding box.

Back to top

Setting Up

The simulation uses external data files to model the potential for renewable energy generation for a geographic region. The approach is to model the data on an hourly basis for a desired year (ignoring leap days, that is, 8,760 hours). The following data files are required / desirable. Due to the initial source for each data file the format for each is different (see SIREN File Formats for further details). Please feedback any desired formats as it's relatively easy to accommodate standard file formats.

You can successfully use the simulation with just the map and weather data while existing load and network data enhance it's usefulness.

A note about hours

Due to inconsistency between power (SAM) and weather data / files, hours of the day are portrayed differently. For example, looking at the hour between midnight and 1:00AM:- in power data the hour is shown as the start of the hour, 00:00, while for weather data it is the end of the hour, 01:00.

Back to top

Simulation Objects

The simulation has two main objects, stations and grid lines. Stations can be saved as scenarios in either an Excel or CSV file format while grid lines are constructed during the simulation rather than being saved to a file (unless you have manually created the grid line).

Stations

Stations represent either existing generation stations on the grid or new ones you have created during a simulation session. The station files can be updated outside of the simulation. The fields for a station are:

Station Name The name you assigned to the station. They must be unique within a simulation session. If you add a new scenario with a station that has the same name as one already active the program will append a number to make the name(s) unique
Technology One of the defined technologies:- Biomass, CST, Fixed PV, Geothermal, Solar Thermal, Rooftop PV, Tracking PV, Wind (refer to SAM Models used by SIREN), and
Hydro, Wave and Other (refer to Other Models used by SIREN (experimental))
Note: SIREN uses two of the SAM Concentrated Solar Power models. Solar Thermal is the SAM model for Power tower concentrating solar power (molten salt and direct steam) and CST is A simple "generic model" for conventional thermal
Latitude Southern latitudes are negative
Longitude Western longitudes are negative
Maximum Capacity (MW) Maximum capacity of the station. This is the amount of power the station produces for export into the network
Note: In the case of PV (and biomass) SAM uses nameplate capacity as the basis for it's calculations. SIREN has been designed to use generation capacity. The PV capacity figures you input into SIREN are increased by the dc_ac_ratio to give the nameplate capacity before they are passed to SAM
Turbine The type of turbine for a Wind station. The name must be either one of the turbines in the Turbine file provided by SAM or the name of a turbine power (.POW) file.
Note: When editing a Wind or Offshore station you will be presented with the list of turbines available. Initially, the list is sorted in name order. You can toggle the sort order between name order and turbine size by clicking on the Turbine: label field.
Rotor Diam The rotor diameter of the turbine for a Wind station
No. turbines The number of turbines in the wind farm
Area The estimated area for the station. This is (currently) calculated by the simulation so you need not enter a value. Stations will be displayed on the map with either a square or circle representing their physical footprint (the shape can be set by setting station_shape in the [Grid] Section of the Preferences file)
Power File If the technology you're interested in is not available in the simulation or you encounter problems you can provide your own power file which contains power output for each hour of the year. This can be produced using SAM itself. Within SAM you display output data, select the Hourly energy data and export the file as either CSV or Excel, and place the file in the same location as your scenario files. When the Power Model is run the program will use this data rather than invoking the SAM module for that station
Storage Hours The number of hours of storage for CST and Solar Thermal stations. If the value isn't set SIREN will use the tshours property in the [CST] or [Solar Thermal] Section of the Preferences file
Grid Line If you have edited the grid line for a station (see Right Mouse Click) this will record the coordinates for the grid line as a series of latitude, longitude values
Direction For PV stations you can specify the direction in which the panels are facing as a character representation of the direction. Acceptable values are:- N, NNE, NE, ENE, E, ESE, SE, SSE, S, SSW, SW, WSW, W, WNW, NW or NNW. The default is N for southern latitude stations and S for northern latitude (that is, towards the midday sun)

When you display a Station with SIREN it will also show the Scenario the Station is in. For new Stations (i.e. not Existing) it is possible to update this value to one of the other scenarios that are currently “open“. This will move the Station into that scenario and, if the scenario is saved move it permanently into that Scenario.

Grid Lines

Grid lines connect new stations to either existing or other new grid lines. By default the grid line will connect a station to the nearest point on the grid. You can edit a grid line if you wish to connect it elsewhere in the grid. Grid lines are recalculated when you add or modify stations but are not normally saved. You can, however, list the (new) grid lines and save the table listed. The fields for a grid are:

Name The name of the station the grid line connects from
Coordinates Coordinates for the start and end of the grid line as latitude, longitude values
Dispatchable If the grid connects “dispatchable” technology this will be set to Y
Length The length of the grid line
Line Cost The estimated cost of the grid line. This is based upon the length and type of line(s)
Line Table This describes the type and number of grid line types for this line. A grid line in the simulation may represent a number of different grid lines to enable the peak load to be carried. The grid line types are described below
Peak Dispatchable The sum of capacities for dispatchable stations connected to/by this grid line
Peak Load The sum of capacities for all stations connected to/by this grid line
Peak Loss An estimate of the peak loss for the line. This is calculated by applying the grid loss value to the sum of all station capacities connected to/by this grid line
Substation Cost There are a range of costs related to the infrastructure at both ends of the line. We'll use the term substation_costs to embrace all these costs. Each line that ultimately ends up reaching the load centre will have a peak load for all stations that follow that particular path to the load centre. These lines will have substation costs based upon the peak load. The costs will/may be allocated across all stations in the path

Types of Grid Lines

A grid is built up of a number of different types of line to enable differing loads to be carried. Each line has a maximum carrying capacity. Greater loads require additional lines to be added; so in this simulation one line may represent multiple grid lines as described in the Line Table for the line. For dispatchable transmission we need an extra path for backup purposes (N-1) while no such backup is required for non-dispatchable loads (N-0). For a line carrying both we'll use a criteria of N-0 for total load plus N-1 for dispatchable load. Within this simulation line types and costs can be specified (somewhat cryptically) in the [Grid] Section of the Preferences file. The default set of lines are:

  non-Dispatchable Dispatchable
Power range (MW) Line Type(s) Cost per Km Substation Cost Line Type(s) Cost per Km Substation Cost
0 - 250 220_s $0.6M $7.0M 220_d $0.9M $8.0M
250 - 500 330_s $1.0M $8.0M 330_d $1.5M $10.0M
500 - 1,000 330_d $1.5M $10.0M 330_d + 330_s $2.5M $18.0M
1,000 - 1,500 330_d + 330_s $2.5M $18.0M 330_d x 2 $3.0M $20.0M

Above 500MW it's a case of alternately adding 330_s and 330_d costs.

Back to top

Preferences

Many options can be specified by a Preferences file. When you open SIREN you will be presented with a list of available Preferences files (SIREN Models) to choose from. These files reside in the same folder as SIREN itself (they may be placed in a different folder by passing that folder as a parameter when SIREN is invoked). The format is similar to a Windows INI file. If you want to create a new Model you can press the New Model button on the start up menu. You will be presented with a small list of Properties to update to create a new Preferences file.

The Preferences file has the following Sections and properties. The file is a simple text file which must be saved in the siren folder and have a file type of .ini (INI File). The sample siren_default.ini or siren_windows_default.ini file will provide a useful guide as to the content.

There are three special strings which will be replaced in the Files properties variables:

Note: There is a quirk with the references to technologies in the [Colors] Section and [Grid] dispatchable, [Power] fossil_technologies, and [Power] technologies variables. The technology names are changed to all lower case and spaces are replaced by underscores. Thus, Fixed PV will appear as fixed_pv.

(Skip to Menus)

Shortcut to Sections:- Backtrack PV, Base, Biomass, Colors, CST, Files, Financial, Fixed PV, Flexiplot, Fossil Coal, Fossil Cogen, Fossil Gas, Fossil Mixed, Geothermal, Grid, Hydro, Map, Offshore Wind, Other, Parents, Plot Colours, Power, Powermatch, Powerplot, PV, Rooftop PV, SAM Modules, Single Axis PV, Solar Thermal, Storage, Tracking PV, View, Wave, Wind, Windows.

Section Properties
[Backtrack PV] Specifics on Backtrack PV characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
dc_ac_ratio DC to AC ratio. Default value is as specified in the [PV] Section
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is solar_pv_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[Base] Base properties are:

existing Include/exclude existing power stations on startup
name A brief name for the model represented by this Preferences file
year Year of interest
years Specify the range of years available for processing. This can be specified as a list separated by commas and/or a range of years separated by a hyphen. For example, 2008, 2010-2015
[Biomass] Specifics on Biomass characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
fuel_cost Fuel cost per tonne (of biomass)
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is biomass_g.png
multiplier Multiply the station capacity by this value to simulate the appropriate level of feedstock. A figure of between 8.2 and 8.5 gives Capacity Factors between 0.65 and 0.92
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[Colors] Colours for things. It is possible to have different colours for different maps by appending the map_choice value to Colors, e.g. [Colors1]. It is possible to edit colours and save the changes via a menu option. Standard colours are:

white, black, red, darkRed, green, darkGreen, blue, darkBlue, cyan, darkCyan, magenta, darkMagenta, yellow, darkYellow, gray, darkGray, lightGray and transparent; or you can use #rrggbb to specify red-green-blue HTML colour shades.

Colour properties are:

background Colour for the background surrounding the map
border Provide a border colour for station circles
fossil_name
grid_boundary
grid_trace The colour for tracing a grid connection
new_grid Additional grid lines for new stations
ruler Colour for the ruler and legend text. If you specify a value of guess the ruler should display white on dark and black on light (but it's not perfect)
station
station_name
town
town_name

There are colours for each of the energy technologies:

backtrack_pv
biomass
fixed_pv
geothermal
offshore_wind
rooftop_pv
single_axis_pv
solar_thermal
tracking_pv
wave
wind  Also used as the storage colour for the Augmented power plot
fossil
fossil_coal
fossil_cogen
fossil_distillate
fossil_gas
fossil_mixed

There are colours used for the electricity grid transmission lines. The values are in part defined by the elements of the grid KML files as described in SIREN File Formats:

grid_<line_capacity> for the grid network used by SIREN
grid2_<line_capacity> for the detailed grid network not used by SIREN

There are colours used for the resource grids:

dhi_high
dhi_low
dni_high
dni_low
ghi_high
ghi_low
temp_high
temp_low
wind_high
wind_low
wind50_high
wind50_low

There are colours used for non-technology plot items:

cumulative      Also used as the used renewable generation colour for the Augmented power plot
gross_load      Also used as the total renewable generation for the Augmented power plot
load
shortfall      Also used as the augmented generation colour for the Augmented power plot
[CST] Specifics on CST characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
gross_net Estimated gross to net power conversion factor
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is solar_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
optical_table Mirror layout file. Provided by SIREN (from SAM modelling)
tshours Hours of storage. The default is 0
volume Storage volume in m3 per MW per hour of storage. Default is 12.9858
[Files] Files and directories. You can either specify the folder as the full path or relative to the siren folder (not the folder the Preferences file resides in). Properties are:

about About file
actual_power File containing actual generation data. If the actual property in [Power] is True generation data will be derived from this file rather than using SAM. The files must reside in the scenarios folder
bom List of BOM weather stations in WA
check Problems are often encountered executing SIREN because file properties resolve to invalid values. By default SIREN will check files on initialisation and output any unresolved values in the status window. To turn off this checking set this property to False
data_file File to save power output if the save_data property in [Power] is True
grid_boundary Electricity network (SWIS) boundary file (KML or KMZ file)
grid_network Schematic of Electricity network (KML or KMZ file). This version of the network is used by SIREN to connect new stations into the network. This should be a very simple version of the grid with all network lines accurately connected
grid_network2 Schematic of Electricity network (KML or KMZ file). This version of the network can be used to provide a more detailed view of the actual network. It isn't used by SIREN
grid_stations List of power stations on the grid. These stations will be identified as Existing. For the SWIS Grid these are obtained from AEMO (http://data.wa.aemo.com.au/#facilities)
grid_stations2 Additional power stations you want to include in the set of Existing stations. This can cater for such things as embedded solar - Rooftop PV - installed on the grid but not registered with AEMO
help Help file
load Hourly load data for the grid. For the SWIS Grid these are obtained from AEMO Operational Load data (http://data.wa.aemo.com.au/#load-summary)
pm_template Template file for Powermatch inputs. If no value is specified inputs will be saved in the original Powerbalance format
pow_files Location of turbine power curve files for those not in SAM's file
resource_grid File to assist with showing the resource grid
sam_sdk Location of SAM SDK folders
sam_turbines SAM's turbine file; including power curves
scenario Default initial scenario
scenario_prefix File name prefix for scenarios of additional/proposed renewable power stations. If specified, all scenarios must start with this value. You can either use this property to specify the prefix or use the tail of the scenarios property
scenarios Location of scenarios of additional/proposed renewable power stations. You can also use this property to specify the file name prefix for scenarios. In this case, the value should end with an * (e.g. Scenario* and all scenarios must start with this value (less the *)
solar_files Location of solar (.smw) weather files. If there is no solar_index file the file name must includes the geographic location of the file to enable a search for the file nearest to a location. The format is <location_latitude_longitude_year.smw>
solar_index An index of file names and geographic locations for solar weather files. If specified this will be used to find the nearest solar weather file to a location
towns List of towns in WA. Augments list of BOM weather stations
variable_files Location of SAM module default variables files
wind_files Location of wind (.srw) weather files. If there is no wind_index file the file name includes the geographic location of the file - <location_latitude_longitude_year.srw>
wind_index An index of file names and geographic locations for wind weather files.
[Financial] Financial options. When running the financial Power Models you will be presented with this list of properties. They can be altered and saved. Properties are:

analysis_period Analysis period in years (e.g. 30)
debt_fraction Debt fraction. Can be suffixed with % for readability, for example, 0%
depr_fed_sl_years Federal depreciation straight-line Years (e.g. 20)
depr_fed_type Federal depreciation type. 2 = straight line
federal_tax_rate Federal Tax Rate. Can be suffixed with % for readability, for example, 30%
grid_costs Include Grid costs in LCOE calculations for financial models. This only includes the cost of the grid to connect the station into the main grid and for the capacity of the station
grid_losses Reduce power figures by the amount of grid losses before running financial models
grid_path_costs Include Grid path costs in LCOE calculations for financial models. This includes the cost of the grid to connect the station to the load centre for the capacity of the station. At present it excludes substation costs. This option may over-inflate grid costs as each station path to the load centre is traced individually
inflation_rate Inflation rate. Can be suffixed with % for readability, for example, 0%
insurance_rate Insurance rate. Can be suffixed with % for readability, for example, 0%
loan_rate Loan rate. Can be suffixed with % for readability, for example, 0%
loan_term Loan term in years (e.g. 0)
market Utility IPP (0) or Commercial PPA (1)
min_dscr_target Minimum required DSCR (e.g. 1.4)
min_dscr_required Minimum DSCR required (e.g. 1)
min_irr_target Minimum required IRR. Can be suffixed with % for readability, for example, 15%
optimize_lcoe_wrt_debt_fraction Optimise LCOE with respect to debt percent (e.g. 0)
positive_cashflow_required Positive cash flow required. 1 = yes
real_discount_rate Real discount rate. Can be suffixed with % for readability, for example, 0%
salvage_percentage Salvage percentage. Can be suffixed with % for readability, for example, 0%
[Fixed PV] Specifics on Fixed PV characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
dc_ac_ratio DC to AC ratio. Default value is as specified in the [PV] Section
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is solar_pv_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[Flexiplot]
(experimental)
Options for Flexiplot. Properties for individual files (columns, file, grid, maximum, percentage, period, plot, series, sheet, title, xlabel, xvalues, and ylabel; marked with an asterisk, *, below) can be repeated a number of times to allow a history of recent files to be accessed. These are suffixed with a number. Properties are as follows:

alpha Opacity of plot fill for values above target. Range is 1.0 (opaque) to 0.0 (translucent). Default value is 0.25
columns (*) List (and order) for columns to be plotted
constrained_layout Produce a plot layout with no whitespace around the graph. Default is False
file (*) Spreadsheet file name
file_choices How many files to keep in a recent history list. The default is 10
file_history The order of the recent history list
grid (*) The gridlines to be included on the plot. Options are Both, Horizontal, Vertical and None. The default is None
label_font Font properties for plot labels
maximum (*) Maximum value for Series (y) axis. Default is 0 (meaning dynamic y axis)
legend_font Font properties for plot legend
palette Invoke the Colours editor to create a palette of colours for selected columns. Default is True
percentage (*) Produce a percentages plot
plot (*) The type of plot. Options are Bar Graph, Cumulative, Linegraph, or Step Plot. The default is Bar Graph
series (*) The series to be included in the plot defined as a set of Excel cells. A number of ranges can be defined
sheet (*) Worksheet name for plot
sparse_ticks You can specify how often X Axis ticks appear. The default is all
target (*) Target field to plot against, e.g. Load
ticks_font Font properties for label tick marks
title (*) Plot title
title_font Font properties for plot title. Default fontsize is x-large
xlabel The label for the series (X) axis
xvalues The list of values to be included in the plot defined as a set of Excel cells. A number of ranges can be defined. The values specify the row or column that defines the column or row headings
ylabel The label for the Y axis
[Fossil Coal] Specifics on Fossil Coal characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is fossil_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[Fossil Cogen] Specifics on Fossil Cogeneration characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is fossil_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[Fossil Gas] Specifics on Fossil Gas characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is fossil_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[Fossil Mixed] Specifics on Fossil Mixed fuel characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is fossil_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[Geothermal] Specifics on Geothermal characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is hot_rocks_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
resource Type of geothermal resource. Values can be 'Hydrothermal' or 'EGS' (or 'HDR'). The default is 'Hydrothermal'
[Grid] Grid properties are:

cost_existing If set to True grid costs will include costing the existing grid. Thus, you can assume the existing grid is at capacity and allow a new grid to be built that follows the same corridors
dispatchable The list of technologies to be treated as “dispatchable”. These technologies may require a more robust transmission line. The list is:- pumped_hydro, geothermal, biomass, solar_thermal
d_lines Defines a table for grid lines to support varying amounts of peak dispatchable power. It defines dispatchable transmission line types for increasing loads of peak dispatchable power. It uses the table defined by line_costs to produce lines types and costs. The format of each entry is (peak_power=line_types) to define the maximum power for each set of line types. Entries are enclosed in brackets. You can also specify a loop to create a table of increasing values. Example: (250=220_d),(for(n=1,10,(n*1000-500=330_d*n),(n*1000=330_d*n + 330_s))) will create the dispatchable line cost entries in Types of Grid Lines up to a maximum of 10,000MW
ignore_deleted_existing If set to True existing stations marked as Deleted will be ignored when existing stations are loaded. At present it is specific to SWIS stations (but could be extended in future). The default is True
line_costs A list of the line types and their costs per Km separated by commas. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions. Example: (220_s=0.6M, 220_d=0.9M, 330_s=1.0M, 330_d=1.5M) describes the lines in Types of Grid Lines
line_loss Line loss percentage per 1,000 kilometres. Can be suffixed with % for readability, for example, 6.93%
load_centre To assist with tracing grid lines for a station you can specify “load centres” where a grid could connect towards (not yet to). This is a series of latitudes and longitudes separated by commas, for example -20.381723,118.586250, -20.621698,117.161738. You can also precede the coordinates with a name for the centre, for example (Perth, -31.9231, 115.8840). It is not possible to mix the two formats. The geographic location of the load centre also needs to be included in the coordinates for the network lines (as defined in the grid_network file)
s_lines Defines a table for grid lines to support varying amounts of peak non-dispatchable power. It defines non-dispatchable transmission line types for increasing loads of peak power. It uses the table defined by line_costs to produce lines types and costs. The format of each entry is (peak_power=line_types) to define the maximum power for each set of line types. Entries are enclosed in brackets. You can also specify a loop to create a table of increasing values. Example: (250=220_s),(500=330_s),(for(n=1,10,(n*1000=330_d*n),(n*1000+500=330_d*n + 330_s))) will create the dispatchable line cost entries in Types of Grid Lines up to a maximum of 10,500MW
substation_costs A list of the line types and their substation costs separated by commas. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions. Example: (220_s=7M, 220_d=8M, 330_s=8M, 330_d=10M) describes the lines in Types of Grid Lines
substation_loss Losses associated with substation infrastructure. Can be suffixed with % for readability, for example, 0.62%
trace grid If set to True this option will cause the model to trace grid connections as far back as possible and add this downstream capacity to peak load for each grid line
trace_existing If set to True this option will cause the model to trace grid connections for existing stations as well. If there are a large number of existing stations (and a complex grid) this can take a long time to process
[Hydro]
(experimental)
Specifics on Hydroelectric power characteristics (experimental). Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
cf Capacity Factor. As SAM does not have a model for Hydro the approach SIREN uses is to simulate power generation using a capacity factor to produce a “straight line” power output
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is hydro_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[Map] Details on the map including geographic boundaries. Properties are:

map Map file showing area of interest. The map can be any graphic image, even a blank image such as provided in the sample files as blank.jpg
map_choice It is possible to choose one of a number of maps using the map_choice parameter. Properties suffixed with the map_choice value will override the default values. For example, map_choice=1 will use values from map1 etc. and will use colours from the [Colors1] section. It is also possible (in fact may be the only thing that works) to suffix the map properties with the map_choice value to provide a value for each map
projection Map projection such as EPSG:3857. EPSG:3857 (WGS 84 / Popular Visualisation Pseudo-Mercator) is a Spherical Mercator projection coordinate system popularised by web services such as Google and later OpenStreetMap. It allows an area of the earth to be projected as a rectangle
lower_right lower right corner of the map in format latitude, longitude. Suffixed by map_choice. For example, map_choice=1 will use lower_right1
lower_right<map> lower right corner of the map for map_choice=map in format latitude, longitude
scale Scale of renewable station areas. True=scale renewable station areas to true size; False=display as a standard size
upper_left Upper left corner of the map in format latitude, longitude. Suffixed by map_choice. For example, map_choice=1 will use upper_left1
upper_left<map> Upper left corner of the map for map_choice=map in format latitude, longitude
[Offshore Wind] Specifics on offshore wind and turbine spacing. Properties are:

area Multiplier to compute an area of area x number of turbines x rotor diameter2
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is wind_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
offset_spacing Offset between adjacent rows in multiples of rotor diameter
row_spacing Distance between rows in multiples of rotor diameter
turbine_spacing Distance between turbines in multiples of rotor diameter
wind_farm_losses_percent SAM parameter. Expected losses in the wind farms electrical output as a percentage of the wind farm's total output. Use this factor to account for wiring, transformer, or other losses. Default is 2%. For Existing stations this factor is used to reduce the generation for de-rated turbines (station capacity divided by number of turbines).
[Other]
(experimental)
Specifics on another technology as defined by you (experimental). You can cater for different technologies by appending a suffix to Other, e.g. [Other1]. Refer to Other Models used by SIREN (experimental) for more details. Standard Properties are:
area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
formula Formula to calculate the power generated for each hour
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is question.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[Parents] Enables parent directories to be specified and substituted in the [Files] properties. The variables must be in lower case. They will also allow a single level of substitution of other parent variables, for example, $dir2=$dir1/.... It is suggested they have an unusual character, such as $, to avoid valid values being substituted

$samsdk Example: pointer to location of SAM SDK folders
[Plot Colors] Colours for Powerplot. These may be populated from the other Colors Sections
[Power] What processing, output and plots to produce for power model processing. Properties are True or False. Power options can be changed and saved when the Power Models menu option is selected. Properties are:

adjust_cap Specify the maximum multiplier to adjust generation by. The default is 25
actual If True, generation data will be derived from actual power data rather than calculated using a SAM model
augment Display plots of hourly results showing renewable generation with shortfalls filled by storage and augmented generation
block If True, plots will be displayed individually. Each plot will have to be closed before the next one will display
by_day Display plots of daily results, that is, a figure for each day
by_month Display plots of monthly results, that is, a figure for each month
by_period Display plots of period results. The periods are defined by the period<n> properties. These are typically two six month periods, however, you can define a different number of periods. As SAM data files cover a calendar year one period may include the first n month(s) and last m month(s) of the year. Each month covers the first to last day of the month.
by_season Display plots of seasonal results, that is, a figure for each season. The seasons are defined by the season<n> properties. These are typically the four three month seasons. You can define a different number of seasons. As SAM data files cover a calendar year the summer or winter figures will include the first n month(s) and last m month(s) of the year
by_station Display plots for individual stations
cumulative Include a cumulative curve for renewables
debug_sam If a SAM model is not producing what is expected this option will cause a list of SAM variables for a model execution to be displayed in the status window or command line window. The default value is False. It is recommended to leave it as False unless you need it for debugging purposes
duration Display load duration curves
financials Run SAM financial models on the power results produced
fossil_technologies The list of fossil technologies - fossil_coal fossil_cogen fossil_distillate fossil_gas fossil_mixed
grid_losses Reduce plot figures by the amount of grid losses
gross_load Create additional load curve which includes Rooftop PV. This increases load to simulate the hidden capacity/demand being met by Rooftop PV
hour Display plots of hourly results
load_growth Default annual load growth when looking into the future. Can be suffixed with % for readability, for example, 2%
maximise Maximise plot windows
month Display plots of the average 24 hour period for each month
orientation Orientation for plots. Set to landscape to produce landscape figures. Default is either portrait or automatic as determined by the plot routine. This is only utilised if the papersize options is specified
other_width Line width for non-technology plot items (Cumulative generation, Load and Shortfall). Default value is 2.0 (twice normal width)
papersize Specify the papersize for plots. This can be either a specific size, such as A4 or letter, or two numbers width,length where both figures are in inches. This option along with save_format allows plots to be saved in a specific size and format
period Display plots of the average 24 hour period for the periods defined by the period<n> properties.
period<n> The months covered by period n. The format is <period_name>,n1,n2,...n6 for month n1 through n6. For example, period2=Summer,11,12,1,2,3,4 names the second period Summer and covers November to December plus January to April
save_match Save inputs for Powermatch (or Powerbalance)
save_data Save initial data outputs produced by the model for each station
save_detail Save data outputs produced by the model for each station and other options. The data will be adjusted to reflect load growth as specified by Power Model options and adjusted generation
save_format Specify the file format to save plots as. This can be one of the values supported by the Python plot routine - eps, jpeg, jpeg, pdf, pgf (requires LaTex), png, ps, raw, rgba, svg, svgz, tif, or tiff. The default format is png
save_plot Save data values for plots
save_tech Save data outputs produced by the model for each technology and other options. The data will be adjusted to reflect load growth as specified by Power Model options and adjusted generation
save_view If True this Property will allow you to save individual images of visualised generation. The default value is False
season Display plots of the average 24 hour period for the seasons defined by the season<n> properties
season<n> The months covered by season n. The format is <season_name>,n1,n2,...n3 for month n1 through n3. For example, season1=Summer,12,1,2 names the first season Summer and covers December, January and February
shortfall Display shortfall of network load not met by renewable generation
shortfall_detail Display additional shortfall graphs and data to assist detailed analysis of generation shortfall
shortfall_iterations Choose the number of iterations for the additional shortfall graphs
show_load Show generation as a percentage of load on plots where possible
show_menu Present a menu to specify what processing and plots to produce. This option should also be set to True to enable choices on plots, tables and financial options
show_pct Display network load on plots
summary Present a table summarising power produced
technologies The list of technologies - biomass, fixed_pv, geothermal, rooftop_pv, solar_thermal, tracking_pv, wind
total Display plots of the average 24 hour period for the full year
visualise Visualise generation over the hours of the year or average monthly or annual diurnal periods
  Optimise (experimental)
optimise                 Specifies the optimisation approach. It can be either be based upon the average Daily generation and load for the chosen time period or the Hourly data. The default is Daily
optimise_load         Remove the contribution to Load (i.e. generation) by a station or technology (multiplied by it's current multiplier) from the analysis. The default is False
[Powerplot] Options for Powerplot. Properties for individual files (columns, file, grid, maximum, percentage, period, plot, sheet, spill_label, target, and title; marked with an asterisk, *, below) can be repeated a number of times to allow a history of recent files to be accessed. These are suffixed with a number. Properties are as follows:

alpha Opacity of plot fill for values above target. Range is 1.0 (opaque) to 0.0 (translucent). Default value is 0.25
columns (*) List (and order) for columns to be plotted
file (*) Spreadsheet file name
file_choices How many files to keep in a recent history list. The default is 10
file_history The order of the recent history list
grid (*) The gridlines to be included on the plot. Options are Both, Horizontal, Vertical and None. The default is None
margin_of_error In doing a plot with a target column there may be very minor differences that could cause a Shortfall or Spill legend item to be created. This setting will allow these small differences to be ignored. The default value is .0001
maximum (*) Maximum value for Power (y) axis. Default is 0 (meaning dynamic y axis)
palette Invoke the Colours editor to create a palette of colours for selected columns. Default is True
percentage (*) Produce a percentages plot
period (*) Chosen period for diurnal plot
plot (*) The type of plot. Options are Bar Graph, Cumulative, Linegraph, or Step Plot. The default is Bar Graph
sheet (*) Worksheet name for plot
spill_label (*) Suffix for Legend entries for spilled energy. Default is no entry
target (*) Target column (e.g. Load) or none if no target
title (*) Plot title
[Powermatch] File names, worksheet names and other variables used by Powermatch. Properties are:

adjust_generators Indicates whether to adjust generators capacity inputs or not. Default is False
carbon_price Carbon price. Only use if carbon price not included in LCOE. Default is 0
change_results If True the name of the results file will be changed when the data file is changed. Default is True
constraints_file File name for constraints spreadsheet
constraints_sheet Worksheet name for constraints table
corrected_lcoe In producing the reports and optimisation use the corrected LCOE or not. The default is True
data_file File name for Powermatch input (data) spreadsheet
generators_file File name for generators (facilities) spreadsheet
generators_sheet Worksheet name for generators (facilities) table
log_status Override the [Windows] log_status property. If set to False the status messages will not be logged in the status window
more_details If set to True a number of additional tables and an additional plot will produced during Powermatch optimisation. Default is False
optimisation_file File name for optimisation spreadsheet
optimisation_sheet Worksheet name for optimisation table
optimise_generations Number of generations (iterations) for optimisation. The value can be between 10 and 500, with a default of 20
optimise_mutation Mutation probability. Introducing a level of mutation prevents the population being restricted to the initial population set. The value can be between 0 and 1, with a default of 0.005
optimise_population Population size for optimisation. The value can be between 10 and 500, with a default of 50
optimise_stop Stop iterations for optimisation if the solution should remain the same. The value can be between 0 and 50, with a default of 0 (meaning there will be no check)
optimise_<details> These properties describe the optimisation weight and target range for each of the six variables used in the multi-variable optimisation approach
renewables_details Either show details for each renewable generator technology (True) or just show a summary (False). This displays a summary on how generator capacity was adjusted from the base data inputs. Default is True
remove_cost In producing the Summary table this option indicates to remove the costs for generators that were not used in the calculation; leading to a lower overall LCOE. The default is True
results_file File name for Powermatch output (report) spreadsheet
shortfall_sign An indicator as to whether shortfall values should be negative or positive. Surplus values will have the opposite sign. The default is negative, -
[PV] Specifics on PV characteristics. Properties are:

dc_ac_ratio DC to AC ratio. Default value is 1.1
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is solar_pv_g.png
losses Percentage losses for SAM PV model (pvwattsv5). Default is 5. 5 is appropriate for solar weather files derived from the MERRA-2 swgnt variable while 14 or 15 is more appropriate for the swgdn variable
[Rooftop PV] Specifics on Rooftop PV characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW. A value of 0 is acceptable
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
dc_ac_ratio DC to AC ratio. Default value is as specified in the [PV] Section
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is solar_pv_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[SAM_Modules] SAM models (modules) and default variables for each technology currently implemented. The variables files can be either CSV or Excel files. Properties are as follows.

Note: SIREN is using SSC Version 206 which has created some changes to the default variables for ippppa, geothermal, tcsgeneric_solar and tcsmolten_salt. The variable files for these models provided by SIREN have a suffix of _206. You may need to adjust these variables in older SIREN Preferences files

annualoutput_variables Default values required for the annual output module. This is the first of two models used to determine the financial aspects of the simulation. It calculates annual output for the analysis period
biomass_variables Default values required for the biomass module
cst_variables Default values required for the CST module
geothermal_variables Default values required for the geothermal module
ippppa_variables Default values required for the Utility IPP/Commercial PPA Finance module. This is the second of the financial models for the simulation
pv_variables Default values required for the three PV technologies (Fixed, Tracking, Rooftop)
solar_thermal_variables Default values required for the solar thermal module
helio_positions A heliostat positions table for the solar thermal module
optical table An optical table for the solar thermal module
wind_variables Default values required for the wind module
[Single Axis PV] Specifics on Single Axis PV characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
dc_ac_ratio DC to AC ratio. Default value is as specified in the [PV] Section
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is solar_pv_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[Solar Thermal] Specifics on Solar Thermal characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
gross_net Estimated gross to net power conversion factor
helio_positions Heliostat layout file. Provided by SIREN (from SAM modelling)
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is solar_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
tshours Hours of storage. The default is 0
volume Storage volume in m3 per MW per hour of storage. Default is 12.9858
[Storage] Specifics on (generic) storage characteristics. Properties are:

discharge_eff Losses incurred in discharging storage. It is a percentage value, e.g. 0.05 means 5%
discharge_max The maximum amount of storage in MW(h) that can be added to address generation shortfall
recharge_eff Losses incurred in recharging storage. It is a percentage value, e.g. 0.05 means 5%
recharge_max The maximum amount of excess generation in MW(h) that can be added to storage
storage Specify how large the storage on the grid is; in GWh. This can be a single figure indicating the amount of storage or two figures separated by a comma where the second value specifies the initial storage value
[Tracking PV] Specifics on (dual axis) Tracking PV characteristics. Properties are:

area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
dc_ac_ratio DC to AC ratio. Default value is as specified in the [PV] Section
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is solar_pv_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[View] Default view options. Often these are True or False values that can be “toggled” in the model. Properties are:

capacity Show station areas based upon capacity. The size of the circles is determined by the capacity of the station and the capacity_area value. The intent is to highlight generation based upon capacity. There is an additional option to display circles based upon generation. These circles can be displayed once the Power Model has been run. They are, again, based upon the capacity_area value reduced to provide circles of the same magnitude as the capacity circles. These circles can be toggled on or off. When both are off station areas will be displayed
capacity_area Size of Capacity circles in km2 per MW
capacity_fill For capacity circle either display just the boundary (False) or fill the whole area (True). It is also possible to display a partially opaque circle by specifying a value between 0 (clear) and 1 (opaque)
centre_on_click If True then centre on nearest station on left-click
crop_save If True then when saving a View the image will be cropped to the edge of the map. The default is True
existing_grid Display existing grid lines
fossil Show fossil generators
group_colours If set to True when you invoke the Edit Colours menu item colours will be grouped into a number of sections:- Fossil Technologies, Grid, Map, Plot, Resource, Technologies, and any others. The default is False
hide_map If set to True this will open SIREN in the normal manner but will display a blank map this allows the current View to be saved without the underlying map. Default value is False
leave_help_open If set to True this will open the help in your browser rather than within SIREN
line_width Width of grid lines on the map in pixels. A line width of zero indicates a cosmetic pen. This means that the pen width is always drawn one pixel wide, independent of the level of zoom. This is the default. A value > 0 will show lines at this width irrespective of the size of the map. A value < 1 and > 0 will be used to calculate the number of pixels by multiplying the width of the map image by this value. A useful value is 0.0016. For example a map image 12,000 pixels wide will have grid lines 19.2 pixels wide
new_grid Include grid lines for new power stations
progress_bar Display progress bar for power calculations; if numeric then only display the bar if there are at least this many stations. Default is True. If the progress bar is displayed you can press the Stop button to terminate processing (after processing for the current station is complete)
resource_max_steps Maximum number of colour steps for resource grids. Default value is 10
resource_opacity Opacity of Resource grid. A value between 0 (clear) and 1 (opaque)
resource_period Initial resource period to be displayed when Resource grid displayed
resource_steps Number of colour steps for resource grids
resource_variable Initial resource variable to be displayed when Resource grid displayed
ruler Length of ruler in kilometres in format length or length, ticks where length specifies the total length of the ruler and ticks ticks indicates the length of tick marks along the ruler
scene_save If True then when saving a View the image will be the underlying map image; otherwise the image will be the (screen) view. The image resolution can be different in the two options, dependent upon screen resolution, image resolution, screen window size and how much of the map is being saved. The default is False
show_towns Display towns. Default is True
station_name Display station names. If False then only the nearest station name will be displayed
station_opacity Opacity of Station area. A value between 0 (clear) and 1 (opaque). The default is 1
station_shape The shape of the station areas. The default is circles; squares can be set by setting this option to square
txt_ratio This ratio allows you to adjust the size of text strings for town names, stations, ruler and legend items. A larger value makes for larger text. The default value is 0.1
zoom_rate The zoom rate for the map view. Each zoom in or zoom out action will alter the displayed map by this amount. Values can be between .75 (75% or 133%) and 0.95 (95% or 105%). The default value is 0.8
[Wave]
(experimental)
Specifics on Wave characteristics (experimental). Properties are:
area Estimated area in km2 per MW
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
efficiency Conversion efficiency. Can be suffixed with % for readability, for example, 40%
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is wave_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
[Wind] Specifics on Wind and turbine spacing. Properties are:

area Multiplier to compute an area of area x number of turbines x rotor diameter2
capital_cost Capital cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
icon Icon to display for this technology. Default is wind_g.png
o_m_cost Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW. A suffix of K indicates thousands and M millions
offset_spacing Offset between adjacent rows in multiples of rotor diameter
row_spacing Distance between rows in multiples of rotor diameter
turbine_spacing Distance between turbines in multiples of rotor diameter
wind_farm_losses_percent SAM parameter. Expected losses in the wind farms electrical output as a percentage of the wind farm's total output. Use this factor to account for wiring, transformer, or other losses. Default is 2%. For Existing stations this factor is used to reduce the generation for de-rated turbines (station capacity divided by number of turbines).
[Windows] Provides options to remember window layouts between sessions. If active these values are updated by SIREN when windows are closed. Windows will be restored as close as possible to their previous position. Properties are:

credits_pos Position of Credits window
credits_show If set to False the Credits window is not shown on startup
credits_size Size of Credits window
legend_pos Position of floating Legend
legend_size Size of floating Legend
log_pos Position of floating status window
log_size Size of floating status window
log_status If set to False the status messages will not be logged in the status window
main_pos Position of main window
main_size Size of main window
main_view Dimensions of map in main window view. This allows the original window to be zoomed to the approximate position on windows close
menu_pos Position of floating menu window
menu_show Display floating menu on startup (True or False). If the floating menu is active when you exit SIREN this flag will indicate to re-show it the next time you run SIREN
menu_size Size of floating menu window
restorewindows If True SIREN will remember window layouts between sessions. Default is False
resource_pos Position of Resource Overlay window
resource_size Size of Resource Overlay window

Back to top

The menus allow you to interact with the full simulation while right-clicking the mouse allows you to interact at the detail of an individual station. The majority of the menu options have a keyboard shortcut. The layout of the menus are set out below (Note: Sometimes the menu options will disappear from the menu bar. The easiest solution is to maximise the main window and then restore it to it's normal size)

Scenario Work with scenarios. It is possible to edit the scenarios outside of the simulation as they are simple Excel or CSV files. The type of file is indicated by the file type - .csv for a CSV file, .xls or for an Excel file. If the file type isn't specified any scenario will be saved in Excel format.

Open  Open (Ctrl+O) Open an existing scenario. This will open the selected scenario and replace all stations in the current session with those in the chosen scenario
Add  Add (Ctrl+A) Add an existing scenario to the current session
Remove  Remove
          ...Scenario(s)
Remove one of the open scenarios from the current model. The Existing scenario allows you to remove existing stations from your session
Edit Description  Edit Descr.
          ...Scenario(s)
Edit the description for a scenario in the current model
Save  Save (Ctrl+S) Save any scenarios modified in the current model
Save + Desc  Save + Desc Save any scenarios modified in the current model and allow descriptions to be updated
Save as...  Save As... Save the current model as a new scenario
Exit  Exit (Ctrl+X) Save any modified scenarios and exit the simulation
Quit  Quit (Ctrl+Q) Quit the simulation without saving any changes
Quit  Add Existing If you have removed Existing Stations this option will allow you to add them back
Power Run SAM models for the current model or list details on new infrastructure in the model

Get Generation  Run SAM Power Models (Ctrl+P) Run SAM models for the base year for each station in the current model and display power curves for the full model
Power for year  Power for year
          ...years(s)
Run the SAM Power Models for one of the years available
List Stations  List Stations (Ctrl+L) List all stations in the current model. By right-clicking a column header you can sort by that column in ascending and then descending order. By left or right-clicking a station you can display the details for that station
List Grid  List Grid (Wires; Ctrl+W) List grid network lines in the current model. By right-clicking a column header you can sort by that column in ascending and then descending order. If [Grid] trace_existing is set existing grid lines will also be displayed
  Save Stations (as KML) Save the current stations as a KML file which can be displayed in Google Earth. The stations will display as a small pin; hovering over a station will display it's name
  Save Grid (as KML) Save the current grid as a KML file which can be displayed in Google Earth
Show Load  Load for yyyy Display load curves for the base year. An options menu is displayed to enable you to choose which plots you want. The options are as described in Choose plots in Power Model Options.
Load for year  Load for year
          ...years(s)
Display load curves for one of the years available ...
SAM Version  SAM Version Display the version of the SAM SDK used by this model ([Files] sam_sdk property). Details will be shown in the status line at the bottom of the main window
Exit Visualise loop  Exit Visualise This will allow you to exit visualisation of generation
View Modify the view of certain elements of the simulation. Those identified with a tick icon can be toggled on or off

Toggle Capacity  Capacity Circles (Ctrl+C) Display circles for the stations based upon Capacity (True) or station area (False)
Toggle Generation  Generation Circles (Ctrl+K) Display circles for the stations based upon Generation (True). This will only display circles for stations that have had the Power model run for them
Toggle Names  Station Names (Ctrl+N) Display all station names (True) or just the current one (False)
Toggle Fossil  Fossil-fuelled Stations (Ctrl+F) Display fossil-fuelled stations (True)
Scale Ruler  Scale Ruler (Ctrl+R) If True Display a Scale Ruler. If you want to move the ruler you need to toggle it off and then back on again
Legend  Show Legend If True Display a legend. The legend displays coloured circles for each technology on the map and squares indicating the total land area occupied by these technologies. The legend will be placed (top) right of the map
Show Towns  Show Towns Display Towns (True)
Show Existing Grid  Show Existing Grid (Ctrl+H) Display the existing grid network (True)
Show Existing Grid  Show Existing Grid (Ctrl+2) Display the existing detailed grid network if one is available (this grid is not utilised by SIREN; True)
Clear Grid Trace  Clear Grid Trace Clear any grid trace
Show Grid Line  Show Grid Line (Ctrl+J) The option allows you to choose an existing grid line to trace it's path
Refresh Grid  Refresh Grid This is a temporary option to refresh the Grid if the grid tracing and shortest path algorithms misbehave
Show Coordinates Grid  Show Coordinates Grid Display a grid of latitude and longitude. The spacing of the grid is based upon the geographic size of the map.
Go to Station  Go to Station (Ctrl+G) Centre the view on a particular station selected from a list
Go to Town  Go to Town (Ctrl+T) Centre the view on a particular town selected from a list
Go to Location  Go to Location (Ctrl+D) Centre the view on a particular location
Go to Load Centre  Go to Load Centre (Ctrl+M) Centre the view on a Load Centre
Save View  Save View (Ctrl+V) Save the current view to an image file
Preferences Edit or display aspects of the Preferences file. Changes for some variables will take effect immediately on exit from the edit program while others (such as the map) will require you to restart the simulation

Edit Preferences  Edit Preferences File(Ctrl+E) Edit the Preferences file, either SIREN.ini or that file passed as a parameter when you invoked the simulation. This option invokes a simple text editor to allow the whole file to be edited
Edit Colours  Edit Colours (Ctrl+U) Edit colours for the current map. This will allow to change both the the colours for the current map_choice (left column) and the default colours (right column). You can delete colours for the current map_choice by right-clicking on the colour (it will be cleared and the item deleted when you Save & Exit)
Edit Section  Edit Section Edit a specific Section of the Preferences file. You will be presented with a list of Sections to choose the desired one. The edit program will then present a table of current Properties and their values. It is also possible to add values for Properties not currently present in that Section
Edit Technologies  Edit Technologies Edit standard Properties for all Technologies. This option allows you to edit the “standard” variables for all technologies (area, capital_cost and o_m_cost)
Dispatchable Lines  Dispatchable Lines Table This will list the dispatchable_lines table showing the range of dispatchable lines for each level of peak dispatchable capacity
Standard Lines  Standard Lines Table This will list the standard_lines table showing the range of standard lines for each level of peak capacity
Line Costs  Line Costs List the cost per Km for each type of line
Substation Costs  Substation Costs List the substation cost for each type of line
Windows Display additional (floating) windows. These windows can be opened and still allow interaction with the main SIREN window. if restorewindows is set SIREN will remember the placement of windows and restore them as closely as possible to these positions when they are next opened.

Credits  Credits (F2) Display Credits window - brief details about SIREN, acknowledgements and licensing
View Resource  Show Resource Grid (Ctrl+B) Invoke Resource Grid window to display gridded resource data on the map
Resource for year  Resource for year
          ...years(s)
Invoke Resource Grid window for one of the years available
View Legend  Show Floating Legend Invoke Floating Legend to display a legend in a floating window
View Menu  Show Floating Menu Invoke Floating menu window to display SIREN menu options
View Status  Show Status Window Invoke floating window to display a log of SIREN session activity and open scenarios
Tools Invoke SIREN tools. This will launch the chosen tool as a new task

getmap  getmap Invoke getmap to create a map image for SIREN (see Obtaining a Suitable Map Image)
getmerra2  getmerra2 Invoke getmerra2 to download MERRA-2 data files (see Get MERRA-2 Files)
indexweather  indexweather Invoke indexweather to create an index for weather files (see Using other Weather Files)
makegrid  makegrid Invoke makegrid to create resource grid file (see Visualising Renewable Resource Attributes)
makeweatherfiles  makeweatherfiles Invoke makeweatherfiles to create weather files for SAM (see Produce wind and solar weather files)
powermatch  powermatch Invoke powermatch to match generation to demand (load) and to quantify and cost dispatchable energy generation, storage and CO2-e emissions (see Powermatch)
powerplot  powerplot Invoke powerplot to create plots from PowerModel and Powermatch outputs (see Powerplot)
updateswis  updateswis Invoke updateswis to update the list of existing SWIS Stations (facilities; see Existing Stations (Facilities)) or SWIS Load data
Help Display some help about the program

Help  Help (F1) Display the help file. The default help file, help.html, is a standard HTML file which can be displayed with your browser
About  About (Ctrl+I) Display details about the simulation including any licensing conditions

Back to top

Right Mouse Click

Clicking the right mouse button allows various actions for the nearest station. Dependent on the nearest station some options will not be available. The full list is as follows:

Run Power  Run SAM Model Run SAM Power Model for nearest station
Power for year  Power for year
          ...years(s)
Run the SAM Power Model for nearest station for one of the years available
Copy Station  Copy station Copy nearest station. After selecting this option and updating any changed details move the mouse to the new location and press the left mouse button to locate the new station
Centre on Station  Centre view Centre view on nearest station
Station Info  Show/Edit details Show details for nearest station. If it is a new (i.e. not an existing) station you can also edit the stations details
Move Station  Move Move nearest station. After selecting this option move the mouse to the new location and press the left mouse button to relocate the station
Delete Station  Delete Delete nearest station
Edit Grid  Edit grid line for station Edit Grid line for station at (this) location. This option allows you to override the default process of connecting the grid line to the nearest existing grid line. By clicking the left mouse button you can indicate where you want the grid line to be positioned; each click adds a new leg to the grid line; double-clicking terminates the edit and connects the grid to the (now) nearest grid line
Trace Grid  Trace grid for station Trace Grid for station at (this) location. This option will trace the grid connection between the station and the (nearest) load centre
Add Station  Add station Add station at (this) location
Weather  Show weather for here Present a menu to allow you to plot weather values (DHI, DNI, GHI, temperature, wind speed) for this location. You select the weather values you want to display and one of a series of plots to display either by hour or the average for a period. There is also an option to display chosen plots one at a time or all together, that is, display them all and allow you to navigate between them
Weather for year  Weather for year
          ...years(s)
Show weather here for one of the years available
Town Info  Show details Show details for nearest town
Scale Ruler  Position ruler here Position ruler here. Position will be approximate
Legend  Position legend here Position legend here. Position will be approximate

Back to top

Using the Simulation

The simulation allows you to build scenarios for the energy mix for your area of interest. It is based around the map of your chosen area and allows you to visualise the layout of the existing electricity network plus the additional stations you place on the map to build your scenario(s). The map initially shows the main skeleton of the existing electricity grid infrastructure and current generation stations.

To add a new station simply right-click on the map at the desired location and then update the details for the station (Name, Technology, Capacity and so forth) and press Save & Exit. You can also copy an existing station and other options as specified above.

As you build your scenario, the simulation adds additional infrastructure to connect the new generation plants to the grid. The colours for the majority of the items on the map are as you specify in the Preferences file. You navigate around the map using normal mouse movements to scroll, zoom, etc. and interact with it as described previously (Menus). Using the various menu options you can model your whole scenario, or by right-clicking you can deal with an individual station. There are a number of additional windows, such as menu options, that can be opened to assist with using SIREN (see Windows)

You can save multiple scenarios and add them and remove them as you wish. When you exit the simulation normally or Save scenarios (Ctrl+S) any modified scenarios will be saved. When you add new stations to your model they will be added as a new scenario which includes the date and time in its name, for example, Scenario_2015-06-09_1000. You can save all open scenarios as a single new scenario by using the Save As... option.

The strength of the simulation is in running the SAM Power Models (e.g. Ctrl+P). This will run the appropriate SAM model for each station you have chosen or for all renewable stations in your current simulation. SAM calculates a list of power outputs for each hour of the year (8,760 points). If the show_menu property is True you will be presented with a menu to specify what processing and plots to produce (see below). If you choose to run the Financial Models or Powermatch you will be presented with an additional menu of options.

Back to top

Power Model Options

The Power Model options menu are as set out here. The default values are specified in the [Power] Section of the Preferences file. The associated property is indicated in brackets at the end of the description. If you hover over the window title bar or press F1 a help for the Options will be displayed.

Check / Uncheck all A button to check or uncheck all option buttons
Show in Plot Choose what to show in the plots
Generation - use actual generation figures Use actual generation figures rather than invoking a SAM module. For example, you may have actual generation (e.g. SCADA) data that you wish to use rather than using a SAM model (actual)
Generation - total (cumulative renewables) Include a cumulative curve for renewables (cumulative)
Generation - from chosen stations Display plots for individual stations. An option to to select any number of individual stations to process. This will cause an additional menu to be presented after you press the Proceed button (by_station)
Generation - adjust generation This option allows you to adjust the generation figures for either technologies or specific stations by a defined multiplier of between 0 and the defined adjustment cap. The cap is set by the adjust_cap property in the [Power] Section of the Preferences file; the default is 25 times. The option multiplies the figures calculated by SAM to enable analysis of changes to the technology mix to the overall simulation result without having to modify individual station(s). See Adjust Generation (below) for further details (adjust)
Generation - show Load Display network load on plots (show_load)
Generation - show shortfall from Load Display shortfall of network load not met by renewable generation (shortfall)
Generation - reduce generation by grid losses Reduce calculated generation by the amount of grid losses (substation and transmission losses) (grid_losses)
Add Existing Rooftop PV to Load (Gross Load) Create additional load curve which includes Rooftop PV. This increases the Load curve by the amount of Rooftop PV in an attempt to simulate it's contribution to load reduction (gross_load)
Growth options Options to set an annual load (demand) growth target and project a number of years into the future. This takes the existing load and increases it by the specified percentage for the number of years into the future
Storage Options related to (generic) storage within the network
Storage Capacity Options to specify how much storage is in the network, in GWh, and the initial capacity. Generation over Load will be added to storage up to this figure while generation shortfall will be met from storage until it is exhausted
Discharge cap Options to specify the maximum amount of storage in MW(h) that can be added to address generation shortfall and the losses incurred in using this storage
Recharge cap Options to specify the maximum amount of excess generation in MW(h) that can be added to storage and the losses incurred in adding this to storage
Choose plots Choose what plots to show. All plots are based upon the full year of data. Energy by options produce a step chart of generation for the chosen time frame; Power - daily average options produce a line graph of the average 24 hour period for the chosen time frame.
Save plot data This option will enable the data values for most of the plots to be saved to a spreadsheet (save_plot)
Visualise generation - period & delay (secs) This option will visualise generation by displaying variable generation circles for each station over the chosen periods (visualise)
Maximise Plot windows Plots will display at maximum window size (maximise)
Show plots one at a time If checked chosen plots will be displayed one at a time, otherwise where possible they will be displayed all together, that is, display them all and allow you to navigate between them (block)
Show generation as a percentage of load Where possible display (renewable) percentage of load within the plot title (show_pct)
Energy by day Display plots of daily results, that is, a figure for each day (by_day)
Energy by month Display plots of monthly results, that is, a figure for each month (by_month)
Energy by season Display plots of seasonal results, that is, a figure for each season (by_season)
Energy by period Display plots of 6 month seasonal results. It is possible to specify any number of months (by_period)
Power by hour Display plots of hourly results (hour)
Power - diurnal profile Display plots of average 24 hour period for the full year (total)
Power - diurnal profile by month Display plots of average 24 hour period for each month (month)
Power - diurnal profile by season Display plots of average 24 hour period for each season (season)
Power - diurnal profile by period Display plots of average 24 hour period for the two periods (period)
Power - Load duration Display load duration curves (duration)
Power by hour - augmented Display plots of hourly results showing renewable generation with shortfalls filled by storage and augmented generation (augment)
Power - Shortfall analysis Display additional shortfall graphs and data to assist detailed analysis of generation shortfall. If this option is chosen with 0 analysis iterations it will display a table of shortfall and excess generation and, if storage is chosen, storage usage and balance (shortfall_detail)
Choose tables Choose what tables to present
Show Summary/Other Tables Present a brief summary table of Capacity and Output for each selected station (summary) plus other tables dependent on options chosen
Save Hourly Data Output Save the hourly data for each renewable station. This is the hourly output calculated by the SAM model (save_data)
Save (adjusted) Hourly Data Output by Station Save adjusted data outputs produced by the model for each station and other options (save_detail)
Save (adjusted) Hourly Data Output by Technology Save adjusted data outputs produced by the model for each technology and other options (save_tech)
Save Powermatch data Save the input data for Powermatch (or Powerbalance). If you check this option it will check two options that are required for Powermatch (‘Generation - show Load’ and ‘Generation - reduce generation by grid losses’). (save_match)
Run Financial Models Run SAM financial models on the power results for each station and produces a summary table showing additional financial outputs (financials)
Proceed, Save Options / Do Financials At the bottom of the menu is the Proceed button. If the button is not visible use the scroll bar to navigate down the table. You can invoke the menu multiple times to specify different growth options, storage options and plots. The first display of the menu gives the option to Save the options for future sessions; this writes the updated options to the Preferences file. To exit this phase of processing press the All Done or Do Financials button

The plots and tables are intended to assist with analysing the chosen scenario.

Plots

Plot Navigation

The tool used to produce the plots, matplotlib, has a navigation toolbar (Interactive navigation) to enable you to navigate and manipulate the plot (but doesn't allow you to change the plot data). It includes options to zoom into an area of the plot and to save the plot image (by default to the scenarios folder). By default the size of plots produced is determined by matplotlib, or by the Maximise Plot windows option (above). By using the orientation, papersize, and save_format Properties of the [Power] section it is possible to produce the plots in a number of formats, such as PDF format, and in a specific page size and layout. If you use these options you can save plots in a standardised format (these Properties can be added and removed by using the Preferences -> Edit Section menu option).

For most plots the Pan/Zoom option (Pan/Zoom) enables you to zoom in on the plot using the right mouse button and to pan across the plot using the left mouse button.

For the two hourly plots (Power by hour and Power by hour - augmented) and plots produced by Powerplot there is a modified pan and zoom feature to enhance visual examination of the plot:

Note: For cumulative (stacked) plots produced by Powerplot this feature may perform slowly so please be a little patient

Powerplot

powerplot.exe is a standalone program that will produce either hourly or diurnal plots from a spreadsheet that conforms to certain constraints. It is intended to be used to plot (detailed) results either from Powermatch or some of the files produced by SIREN's PowerModels. The spreadsheet must have:

  1. A header row that defines the content of the underlying rows (this need not be the first row)
  2. The first (header) column should be Hour and the second should be Period with a cell format of yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm. The program uses the year in the first period row to determine if the data is for a leap year
  3. The rows immediately following the header row should contain data for each hour of the year (8,760 for a normal year and 8,784 for a leap; or a smaller number for an incomplete year)
The program displays a window of options. The default values are specified in the [Powerplot] Section of the Preferences file. It is possible to have a number of entries for files (file_choices) listed in recent order (file_history).
Recent Files A pull-down list of recent spreadsheets. Click on the desired spreadsheet to choose a different one from the list. The list will be ordered in terms of most recently accessed first (file_history)
File Click on this field to choose the desired spreadsheet (file)
Sheet A pull-down list to enable you to choose the desired worksheet (sheet)
Period A pull-down list for a full year or a month. If an option other than <None> is chosen the resulting plot will present an average diurnal plot for the chosen period (period)
Target A pull-down list of column names. If the plot is intended to show how the chosen columns meet a target column, typically Load, this enables you to choose that column. Choosing <None> means no target field. If a target field is chosen the plot will show excess generation as lightly shaded areas above the target values (target)
Title Specify a title for the plot. There are two special strings which will be replaced in the title:
  • $YEAR$ will be replaced with the year (first Period value)
  • $MTH$ or $MONTH$ will be replaced with the chosen Period
If it's not a diurnal plot (i.e. Period is <None>) any occurence of ’Diurnal‘ in the title wil be removed (title)
Maximum You can specify a maximum value for the Power (y) axis. This allows you to produce a series of plots with the same scale (maximum)
Type of Plot The type of plot to be produced. Options are Bar Graph, Cumulative, Linegraph and Step Plot. Bar Graph, Cumulative and Step Plot produce cumulative (stacked) plots and have filled areas by technology (or Columns). A Step Plot is similar to a Bar Graph but does not have spaces between the hourly bars; also it is a lot faster to display than a Bar Graph (a Bar Graph is not recommended for hourly plots). If a Target field (e.g. Load) is chosen the area above the Target value (i.e. excess generation) in the Cumulative and Step plot have a lightly shaded value (the degree of shading is chosen by the alpha property in the [Powerplot] Section of the Preferences file) (plot)
Percentage Checking this option will produce a percentage (stacked) curve. The plot will have filled areas showing the percentage of generation for each technology. It is recommended to not set a Target field (i.e. set it to <None>) as this will merely remove the Target field (and it's data) from the plot (percentage)
Spill label Use this to set a suffix for Legend entries for spilled energy. If the field is blank no spilled energy labels will appear in the Legend (spill_label)
Show Grid The gridlines to be included on the plot. Options are Both, Horizontal, Vertical and None. The default is None (grid)
Column Order To produce the plot you select those columns to be included. This field consists of two tables (lists) of columns. Those in the left hand list will be included in the plot while those on the right will be excluded. The included columns will be plotted in the chosen order. You can drag individual or a number of columns between the two lists to get the desired configuration. The plot colour for the column will be displayed as the background color for the column (columns)
Done, Plot, Colours, Help At the bottom of the window are a number of buttons:
  • Done Exit the program and save the input values. Input preferences and colours are either saved in a SIREN preferences file or in a specific file, powerplot.ini, if no Peferences file is passed to the program
  • Plot Produce the plot. If there are missing colours you will be taken to the Colours window to add the colour. You need to set a colour and press the Save & Exit button
  • Colours Press this button to change the plot colours or to add new colours. You can remove a plot colour by right-clicking the colour (it will be cleared and the item deleted when you Save & Exit). Colours are held in the [Plot Colors] Section of the Preferences file.
    If the palette property in the [Plot Colors] Section of the Preferences file is set to True you can create a palette sequence of colours for columns selected in both the included and excluded lists. If you select columns and then press the Colours button you will be given the option to set a starting and ending palette colour and the colours for the chosen columns will be updated to a range of colours between the chosen values
  • Help Display the help for Powerplot

 

Flexiplot

flexiplot.exe is a standalone program that can be used for “prototyping” a more conventional Excel spreadsheet where data is arranged in rows or columns. The program is very much experimental. If it proves useful it may be included as part of powerplot.exe in the future. The program has a similar window of options to powerplot with the exception of Period and Target. The default values are specified in the [Flexiplot] Section of the Preferences file. It has a number of options that differ to powerplot.

Series The location of the data series to be plotted. The range is specified as either Excel columns and rows, e.g. B1:H1, or as four numbers defining the row and columns range, e.g. 1,2,1,7. The series can either be in rows or columns but is expected to be a single row (as in the examples) or column. You then choose which series you want plotted by moving them in the Column Order lists (series)
Series Label The label for the Series (y values) (ylabel)
X Values The data values to be plotted. The range is specified as either Excel columns and rows, e.g. A2:A29 or as four numbers defining the row and columns range, e.g. 2,1,2,29. The series can either be in rows or columns but is expected to be a single row or column (as in the examples). The first column (A) is taken as the X labels and the data series chosen will be plotted (xlabels)
X Label The label for the X Axis (x values) (xlabel)
Preferences In addition to the buttons in powerplot, flexiplot has a Preferences button to allow you to update the Flexiplot preferences. This allows you to adjust text sizes and the like, however, some values, such as details for an individual file, may be ignored for the active file.

flexiplot has a number of options to:

Tables

Financial Model Options

Note: Implementation of the SAM Financial models in SIREN is a work in progress. If you have suggestions on how you would like SIREN to be extended in this area contact siren@sen.asn.au.

If you have chosen to run the Financial models you will be presented with an additional options menu as set out here. The default values are specified in the [Financial] Section of the Preferences file. The associated property is indicated in brackets at the end of the description. If you hover over the window title bar or press F1 a help for the Options will be displayed.

Analysis period (years) (analysis_period)
Federal tax rate (%) (federal_tax_rate)
Real discount rate (%) (real_discount_rate)
Inflation rate (%) (inflation_rate)
Insurance rate (%) (insurance_rate)
Loan term (years) (loan_term)
Loan rate (%) (loan_rate)
Debt percentage (%) (debt_fraction)
Federal depreciation type 2=straight line (depr_fed_type)
Depreciation straight-line term (years) Federal depreciation straight-line term in years (depr_fed_sl_years)
Salvage value percentage (%) (salvage_percentage)
Minimum required DSCR (ratio) (min_dscr_target)
Minimum required IRR (%) (min_irr_target)
Commercial PPA (on), Utility IPP (off) IPP option - Utility IPP or Commercial PPA (market)
Minimum DSCR required? (min_dscr_required)
Positive cash flow required? (positive_cashflow_required)
Optimise LCOE with respect to debt percent? (optimize_lcoe_wrt_debt_fraction)
Reduce power by Grid losses? Reduce the power passed to the financial model by the amount of grid losses. This will slightly increase LCOE. If chosen this will reduce power by losses related to the line connecting the station into the grid. To reduce power by losses for the the full grid path length to the load centre you need to also choose the Include full grid path ... option (below)
Include Grid costs in LCOE? Increase station costs by the line costs to connect the station to the grid. This only includes the cost of the line to connect the station into the main grid and for the capacity of the station
Include full grid path in LCOE? Increase station costs by the line costs to connect the station to the grid. This includes the cost of the line to connect the station to the load centre for the capacity of the station. This option may over-inflate grid costs as each station path to the load centre is traced individually
Proceed, Save Options, All Done At the bottom of the menu is the Proceed button. If the button is not visible use the scroll bar to navigate down the table. You can also Save the options for future sessions; this writes the updated options to the Preferences file. The model will allow multiple iterations of the financial models. Use the All Done button to exit financial model processing

Notes on the Financial Model Table

Back to top

Powermatch

Running the SIREN models will produce hourly generation figures which identify generation shortfalls and excesses against load (demand). One of the outputs from SIREN is a table of these generation shortfalls which could be met by storage (charged by surplus renewable generation) and dispatchable energy generation. The Powermatch component of SIREN can be used to match generation with demand (load) to quantify and cost this dispatchable energy generation, storage and CO2-e emissions. This enables you to complete a costed renewable energy scenario.

One of the outputs from Powermatch is calculated LCOE figures, overall and for each Generator. The LCOE figures are calculated based upon a Reference LCOE and Reference Capacity Factor (CF) for the generator or storage. In producing the LCOE figures you can choose to use LCOE figures that ignore any surplus generation or produce a corrected LCOE figure which adjusts the LCOE figure upwards to take into account the surplus generation (that is, the corrected LCOE figure includes the cost of surplus - spilled - generation). The default is to produce a corrected LCOE (corrected_lcoe)

Note: The SIREN Powermatch component has been derived from the Powerbalance worksheets developed by Ben Rose. The great work and inspiration by Ben is acknowledged.

The Powermatch options are as set out here. The options are specified in the [Powermatch] Section of the Preferences file. The associated property is indicated in brackets at the end of the description. All files are located in the SIREN Scenarios folder.

Constraints File File name for constraints spreadsheet. Clicking on the field will allow you to choose another spreadsheet from the SIREN Scenarios folder (constraints_file)
Constraints Sheet  Constraints Worksheet name for constraints table (constraints_sheet). Click on the Constraints button to display the Constraints table. Values can be changed and the table Saved or Exported as a new file
Generators file File name for generators (facilities; includes generators and storage) spreadsheet. Clicking on the field will allow you to choose another spreadsheet (generators_file)
Generators Sheet  Generators Worksheet name for generators (facilities) table (generators_sheet). Click on the Generators button to display the Generators (facilities) table. Values can be changed and the table Saved or Exported as a new file
Optimisation File File name for optimisation spreadsheet. Clicking on the field will allow you to choose another spreadsheet from the SIREN Scenarios folder (optimisation_file)
Optimisation Sheet  Optimisation Worksheet name for optimisation table (optimisation_sheet). Click on the Optimisation button to display the Optimisation table. Values can be changed and the table Saved or Exported as a new file
Data File File name for Powermatch input (data) spreadsheet. Clicking on the field will allow you to choose another spreadsheet (data_file)
Results File File name for Powermatch output (report) spreadsheet. Clicking on the field will allow you to choose the name for the report spreadsheet. Note: If the change_results property of the [Powermatch] Section is set changes to the input spreadsheet name will cause this Results spreadsheet name to change (results_file)
Carbon Price If a carbon price is not included in LCOE figures you can use this option to set a carbon price between $0 and $200 (carbon_price)
Adjust Generators If this option is checked you will be presented with a table to enable you to adjust the input capacity data for each generator technology. You can specify a multiplier between 0 and the cap set by the adjust_cap property in the [Power] Section of the Preferences file; the default is 25. The original input values will be derived from the data sheet for renewables and the Generators table for dispatchable technologies. You can also Save and Restore the multipliers to use again later (adjust_generators)
Dispatch Order The order in which the dispatchable technologies will be processed by Powermatch. You can change the order by clicking on each value and moving it up and down the list. The initial order is derived from the generators (facilities) table. If you want to exclude a generator you can drag it to the right hand list (and drag it back to the left to re-include)
Done, Constraints, Generators,
Summary, Powermatch,
Help
As well as the buttons beside the sheet options there are a number of buttons at the bottom of the menu, as described below:

The Constraints, Generators and Optimisation tables can be edited, updated and saved and the revised table(s) used as inputs for the Summary, Powermatch and Optimise options. During the edit process the revised values can be exported as a new spreadsheet. If the table(s) is saved but not exported the revised values will not be available once Powermatch is exited.

Generators

To address the shortfall in generation encountered by a renewable scenario other dispatchable generation and storage facilities can be used. These are defined in a Generators table. The Generators table can also be used to define the Reference LCOE and LCOE CF figures for Renewable technologies. The fields are:

NameName of the Facility
(Dispatch) OrderSpecifies the order in which the dispatchable facilities are used, with a value of 1 being the first in the order. Zero values are placed after those with a positive number
ConstraintName of the Constraint that applies to this facility
CapacityThe capacity for the facility in MW for generators and MWh, that is total energy content, for storage
InitialFor storage this species the initial level of storage as a percentage of total capacity
LCOEThe Reference LCOE for the facility
LCOE CFThe Reference capacity factor (CF) at which the Reference LCOE was determined. A combination of LCOE and LCOE CF allows the cost of the generation or storage to be determined. In undertaking any calculations Powermatch adjusts the resulting LCOE to reflect the difference between this CF and the calculated CF. If the Reference CF is zero the resulting LCOE will be used (that is, resulting LCOE will be the same as reference LCOE)
EmissionsSpecifies the carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in tonnes per unit of electricity (t CO2-e / MWh)

Constraints

Utilisation of each dispatchable generator and storage facility can be constrained by Powermatch in a number of ways. All figures are expressed as a percentage. In the tables the values will be displayed as a decimal fraction (0.00 to 1.00). All figures are hourly except for Parasitic Loss which is daily. The approach Powermatch uses is rather simplistic in that any losses need to cater for any loss of efficiency in storing energy or retrieving energy. The constraints are:

NameName of the Constraint
ConstraintName of the Constraint (same as Name)
CategoryThe category of the constraint. Values are either Storage or Generator
Capacity MaxFor a Generator the maximum rate the plant can run at. For Storage the maximum amount of storage that can be used
Capacity MinFor a Generator the minimum rate (other than zero) the plant can run at; which may cause spilled generation to occur. For Storage the facility should not be drained below this value
Discharge LossLosses when storage is used (discharged). If you have a storage technology with a round trip efficiency value you should specify the full loss in the Recharge Loss constraint.
Discharge MaxFor Storage the maximum rate at which the storage can be used, that is the power rating of the storage with reference to total energy content. For example, a 400MW storage with 4,000MWh of capacity would have a Discharge Max of 10%
Parasitic LossesStorage may lose capacity over time (e.g. batteries discharging, water evaporating). This constraint enables those losses to be catered for
Rampdown MaxThe maximum rate that a generator can be ramped down (not fully implemented)
Rampup MaxThe maximum rate that a generator can be ramped up (not fully implemented)
Recharge LossLosses when storage is increased (recharged). If you have a storage technology with a round trip efficiency value you should specify the full loss in this constraint (e.g. for a round trip efficiency of 30% you would set Recharge Loss to 70%).
Recharge MaxFor Storage the maximum rate at which the storage can be increased
Min Run TimeFor Storage some technologies may be better deployed if they can run for a number of hours. To simulate this Powermatch will not use the technology unless there are projected shortfalls for at least the desired number of hours
Warmup TimeFor Storage some technologies may require a warmup period before they become operational. You can set a time period for this to occur, either in minutes or part of an hour (if an Initial value is set for the Storage it is assumed the warmup period has occured prior to the first hour of the year).

Optimise and Optimisation

In an attempt to simplify the process of determining the optimal generation mix, Powermatch has an optimisation function. The function uses a genetic algorithm to identify three possible optimal solutions:

  1. A solution with the lowest LCOE for the input renewable and dispatchable technologies
  2. A solution with the best (lowest) weighting for six variables - lowest LCOE, lowest CO2 emissions, lowest Overall Cost, lowest surplus generation, highest RE percentage and maximising the percentage of load met
  3. A solution with the the lowest LCOE and weighting for six variables. Running both does use a single population and so there is some “interaction” between the the which may distort the result
Genetic algorithms are inspired by the process of natural selection and simulate evolution of multiple generations that evolve to produce an optimal solution, in this case 1. lowest LCOE 2. lowest weighted solution, or 3. lowest in both (Note: This is a different approach to optimisation than in Power Model). The approach has a number of inputs:

The Powermatch optimisation approach uses the Optimisation table to define the range of possible values for each of the renewable technologies and dispatchable and storage facilities. Entries are required for all Renewable technologies and dispatchable and storage facilities. The fields are:

NameName of the Technology (matches either RE or generator)
ApproachApproach for how this generator will be treated. There are two options:
  • Discrete. A list of discrete Capacities representing individual generation units (facilties) for the technology, e.g. individual generators
  • Range. The (total) Capacity for the technology is divided into a number of equal steps. A minimum capacity can also be defined
    CapacitiesThe capacities for a Discrete generator. This is a series of numbers separated by spaces
    Capacity MaxThe maximum (total) capacity for a Range
    Capacity MinThe minimum capacity for a Range
    Capacity StepThe size of each capacity step for a Range

    The capacity fields can be a single field, Values, as a string of numbers separated by spaces.

    Powermatch optimisation approach is as follows:

    1. Generate a chromosome as defined by the Optimisation table
    2. Create an initial population, each member with a random copy of the chromosome
    3. Calculate fitness of population. Select either (1.) lowest LCOE that meets 100% of load (demand), (2.) lowest weighting, or (3.) the lowest of both. For each member:
      1. Using their chromosome and the Optimisation table determine the capacity for each technology
      2. Run Powermatch with this generation mix to calculate (1.) the LCOE (score) and (2.) the weighting
    4. For each generation
      1. Select the best parents by competition
      2. Breed new population by random crossover of chromosomes for winners
      3. Randomly mutate the population
      4. Calculate fitness of population. Select either (1.) lowest LCOE that meets 100% of load (demand), (2.) lowest weighting, or (3.) lowest of both
      5. Exit loop if LCOE has remained the same for the specified number of generations
      6. Include either (1.) lowest LCOE, (2.) lowest weighting or (3.) lowest of both in the next generation
    5. Produce
      1. A plot showing the progression of LCOE over each generation
      2. A three dimensional plot showing the best individual for each generation. The three variables with the highest weighting are chosen for the plot. It is also possible to pick one of the solutions by clicking the mouse on that point - a small box showing the values for each of the three variables will be displayed. You can “rotate<” the plot around by holding down the left mouse button and then moving the mouse
    6. Optionally, produce tables for best candidate (1.) with lowest LCOE and (2.) lowest weighting if the more_details property is set to True
    7. Present a table for the optimal solutions. The table shows the adjustment values and capacity for each generator followed by the estimated value for each of the six multi-variables prioritised by Weight. By pressing the appropriate button the adjustment values for the chosen solution will be made available for Summary and Powermatch

    Back to top

    Resource Grids

    To assist with placement of renewable energy stations SIREN can display a grid of renewable resource attributes derived from the SAM weather files. The grid can be displayed by invoking the Show Resource Grid (Ctrl+B) menu option. The Resource Overlay menu presented has the following fields:

    Altering any field will cause the revised grid to be overlaid on the SIREN map. There are several buttons:

    This feature utilises summary data stored in a file rather than having to process hourly data from the weather files (see Visualising Renewable Resource Attributes).

    Back to top

    Performance and Execution Tricks

    Processing a simulation with a large number of stations can take a while to process, especially with Solar Thermal stations. You can minimise this processing by using either of these two options:

    1. When you invoke Power Model processing it allows you to process Plot (and Table) options multiple times without reprocessing the stations. You can then process Financial options multiple times. The process SIREN uses is as follows:
      1. Displays the Power Model menu allowing you to specify initial options. This allows you to choose the stations of interest and the data options you want. This first display of the menu also allows you to save these options
      2. Calls the appropriate SAM module for each chosen station, or other options as specified
      3. Presents the tables and plots you have selected
      4. Re-displays the Power Model menu allowing you to specify different growth options, storage options and plots. A number of options, such as Generation - from chosen stations will no longer be available as they would require reprocessing the SAM models. To process these new options press the Proceed button. To exit this phase of processing press the All Done or Do Financials button
      5. If you have chosen to run the Financial Models the Financial Model menu will be displayed, allowing you to specify initial finance options. Press the Proceed button to continue with these options
      6. Calls the SAM financial module for each chosen station
      7. Presents the financial table
      8. Re displays the Financial Model menu allowing you to specify different options. Press the Proceed button to invoke these new options. To exit this phase of processing press the All Done button

    2. If the location and size of stations haven't changed you can avoid reprocessing stations by used Power data from a previous simulation run, using the following approach.
      1. Choose the Save Hourly Data Output (save_data) Power Model option
      2. Save the data file. This file contains power output for all stations in the current simulation. It should be located in the same folder as your scenario files (scenarios property of the [Files] Section). The data is saved as MWh with 4 decimal places because SAM uses kWh
      3. With your spreadsheet application (Excel) update the scenarios and stations that you want to use the saved data with. Either add or use the column headed Power File to specify the file name you've selected for the power output. For each station enter the full name and extension of the file, for example, Power_Table_Saved.xls
      4. When you next run the simulation it will load this saved data rather than invoking the SAM module for each station that has an Power File entry
      5. If the file is not found the SAM module will be re-invoked. So you can simply delete or rename the Power data file and re-run the simulation to get a new set of data points

    Adjust Generation

    The Generation - adjust generation option allows you to easily adjust the contribution of each technology to the overall model by allowing you to apply a multiplier to the generation figures. The multiplier multiplies each hourly generation figure to approximate increasing the station by this size. This enables you to assess changes to the technology mix without having to alter individual stations. If you also choose the Generation - from chosen stations option you can also do this adjustment for each station rather than each technology. This approach allows you to “experiment” with the generation mix without having to add or alter stations.

    Note: that the multiplied figures are not passed to the Financial model(s).

    Augmented (non-renewable) Generation

    You can roughly estimate how much augmented (non-renewable) generation is required to meet the Load by selecting some appropriate Power Model options. This approach will indicate how much hourly demand can be met by generation, with or without storage, in the same hour, and how much excess renewable generation is spilled. If you choose the Save plot data and Power by hour - augmented option three tables will be produced. The first is actual data as in the graph, the second will adjust values to indicate the amount of generation from each component, and the third is a summary of the totals for the second table. This final table summarises how much demand is met by renewables and storage, how much has to be met from other sources (Augment) and how much renewable generation is spilled (that is, not used to meet demand or add to storage). This gives a slightly more accurate figure on how well your scenario meets hourly Load.

    Saving the Current View

    It is possible to save the current view of the main SIREN window using the Save View (Ctrl+V) option. Depending on the options chosen you can choose to crop the view at the map boundary (crop_save=True) or to save the full view, and to save either the underlying map (scene_save=True) or the screen view. The image resolution can be different in the two options, dependent upon screen resolution, image resolution, screen window size and how much of the map is being saved.

    Optimise (experimental)

    SIREN also has an experimental approach to optimise the mix of technologies. If Load data is available the menu presented to adjust generation will have an option to “optimise” the renewable energy mix to best meet the Load. You will be presented with an Optimise for: pull-down list of periods to optimise for. You choose the desired period and then press the Optimise button. This will then do a least squares solution for adjustment multipliers to produce a generation profile that best matches the total load and load profile for that period. The data analysis is performed on either the average 24 hour period or detailed hourly figures for the chosen period (optimise property of the [Power] Section). If you don't wish to include a technology or station then uncheck the checkbox (to the right of the multiplier) for that technology or station. The generation produced by that technology or station will be removed from the optimisation. Depending on the optimise_load property of the [Power] Section you can also remove the Load (multiplied by it's current multiplier) from the analysis. Any computed negative multiplier will be set to zero, which is likely to result in the computed generation exceeding the load. The Check / Uncheck all zeroes check box enables you to include or exclude all zeroed stations from any further optimisation. The analysis is based upon the stations in your scenario and doesn't take into account how well placed they are within the network. If you want to reset all multipliers just Optimise for None.

    Back to top

    Feedback

    This model is very much a work in progress. To improve it's usefulness to a wider community we encourage any feedback on how it might be improved. Feedback to siren@sen.asn.au.

    Back to top

    SIREN File Formats

    SIREN accepts a number of file formats for each of the data files it uses. Due to the initial source for each data file the format for each is different. For Excel and CSV files the first cell for each column is usually taken as the column name.

    Note: Other than the Powermatch file, all Excel files output by SIREN are in XLS format (XLSX files require a different Python library to create them).

    The files and formats are:

    actual_power An Excel (XLS or XLSX) or CSV file containing a column of hourly generation in MWh for each (existing) station for each hour of the year (8,760 hours)
    bom An Excel (XLS or XLSX) or CSV file containing details on those BOM sites you want displayed on the map. This file format is the same as towns (see below) with some additional column name options
    grid_boundary A KML (or KMZ) file defining the boundary for the grid. Any string of <coordinates> in a <LinearRing> is used to draw the grid boundary or boundaries. Colour for the grid boundary can be set by either the grid_boundary Colour option or by a <styleUrl> colour element in the KML file
    grid_network A KML (or KMZ) file defining the grid network. Any string of <coordinates> in a <LineString> is used to draw a grid line. The <name> will be used as the Line name. This file defines the grid network SIREN uses to add in additional stations and trace their paths to load centres. As such, this should be a very simplified grid and relies on all lines connecting to one another in a true grid network. Making this grid too complex slows down the process of connecting lines and tracing paths. Colours for the lines can be set by either <styleUrl> colour elements in the KML file or grid_colour Colour options, where colour equals the lines' <styleUrl>, e.g.grid_s_66kv=#774110.
    grid_network2 A KML (or KMZ) file defining the actual grid network. Any string of <coordinates> in a <LineString> is used to draw a grid line. <styleUrl> colour elements may be used for the line colour. Alternatively, a standard set of colours based upon line capacity, as defined by <SimpleData name="CAPACITY_kV"> or <SimpleData name="CAPACITYKV> elements, can be used. These values can be set by grid2_line_capacity Colour properties where line_capacity is the line capacity, e.g. grid2_66=#774110 for a 66kV line. It can be a detailed as you like and doesn't require accurate connections (SIREN makes no use of it)
    grid_stations A file defining actual stations on the grid. This can be either a CSV file or Excel (XLS or XLSX) file in the same format as scenario files (there is also a special CSV format for SWIS stations based upon the AEMO facilities file)
    grid_stations2 A file defining additional stations on the grid. This can be either a CSV file or Excel (XLS or XLSX) file in the same format as scenario files. This additional file allows you to specify stations that you want to include that are not part of the existing grid, such as Rooftop PV stations
    helio_positions A simple CSV file of heliostat positions for Solar Thermal. This is provided by SIREN (from SAM modelling)
    load An Excel (XLS or XLSX) or CSV file containing a single column of hourly load demand for each hour of the year (8,760 hours)
    optical_table A simple CSV file of mirror/optical layout for CST. This is provided by SIREN (from SAM modelling)
    pm_template A template file defining the layout for a Powermatch scenario file. This can only be an Excel (XLSX) file
    pow_files To augment the list of turbines provided by SAM you can create individual files in old-style WAsP Power Curve (.pow) format. SIREN uses the data in these files to produce a power curve in the same format as SAM by running a 13th order polynomial on the POW file. The file is a simple text file with rows defined as set out here. All values are enclosed in double quotes. Row contents are:
    1. Turbine name
    2. Rotor diameter
    3. Ignored
    4. Cut out speed (m/s)
    5. Cut in speed (m/s)
    6. Power output in kW at 0 m/s
    7. Power output in kW at 1 m/s
      ... Additional rows specify power output at speeds increasing by 1 m/s
    8. Power output in kW at 25 m/s
    resource_grid An Excel (XLS) or CSV file File used by SIREN to assist with showing the resource grid. This file is created to summarise weather variables for certain periods to enable a grid of resource variables to be overlaid on the map
    sam_turbines This file format is defined by SAM. It is possible to produce a subset of wind turbines by creating a copy of the file provided by SAM (remember to always retain the (three) header rows)
    scenario An Excel (XLS) or CSV file containing stations for a scenario. The columns for the file are as defined in the Stations Simulation Objects. The file names must start with the file name prefix specified in the scenarios Property in the [Files] Section of the Preferences file. It is possible to provide a brief description for the scenario in the first row of the file. This is indicated by a value of Description: in the top left cell followed by the description in the next cell
    solar_files These are solar weather files in one of the formats defined by SAM. SIREN uses the file name to define the location and year for the file by separating the file name by an underscore as follows:- anything_anything_latitude_longitude_year.filetype
    solar_index Using this file you can specify a list of solar weather files to be used by SIREN. This option allows you to use filenames that don't conform to SIREN's convention, such as the TMY files provided by SAM. The file can be either CSV or Excel (XLS) and contains three columns:
    • Latitude. Weather file latitude
    • Longitude. Weather file longitude
    • Filename. Weather file name
    towns An Excel (XLS or XLSX) or CSV file containing details on towns/locations you want displayed on the map. As a minimum the file should have columns for town, latitude and longitude. The columns recognised by SIREN are:
    • Country. The location's country. The default is currently AUS
    • Elev. The location's elevation
    • Latitude. The location's latitude
    • Lid. Location ID, such as a BOM station identifier
    • Longitude. The location's longitude
    • State. The location's State
    • Town, Site Name or Station Name. The name for the location
    variable_files SAM technology models use a variety of input and output variables to process a renewable energy station. These variable files are used by SIREN to pass appropriate values to SAM, as defined in the DEFAULT column. A value of Input means the value will be provided by SIREN from details for the station or as specified in the Preferences file. It is possible to create your own copy of the files provided by SIREN to override any of the input variables. the files can be CSV or Excel format
    wind_files These are wind weather files in one of the formats defined by SAM. SIREN uses the file name to define the location and year for the file by separating the file name by an underscore as follows:- anything_anything_latitude_longitude_year.filetype
    wind_index Using this file you can specify a list of wind weather files to be used by SIREN. This option allows you to use filenames that don't conform to SIREN's convention, such as the TMY files provided by SAM. The file can be either CSV or Excel (XLS) and contains three columns:
    • Latitude. Weather file latitude
    • Longitude. Weather file longitude
    • Filename. Weather file name

    Back to top

    Supporting Notes

    Obtaining a Suitable Map Image

    Among other publicly available resources, OpenStreetMap provides a set of open map tiles (“Slippy Map” tiles. Refer http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Slippy_Map) which can be stitched together into a single image. These produce a traditional map type. A satellite map can be obtained from MapQuest (https://www.mapquestapi.com/staticmap/ or you can save an image from another source such as Google Maps. Map data copyright (©) OpenStreetMap contributors CC-BY-SA http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright. You can obtain a suitable image using getmap.

    getmap

    getmap.py is a Python program that can be used to create a map image for any area of the globe. Using this program you can obtain a map from one of the two sources above. You specify:

    You can invoke the program either by choosing getmap from the SIREN Tools menu or in Windows by running getmap.exe in the siren folder. Running it with no parameters will present an interactive window to allow you to define the map/image desired. getmap displays a map of the world to visualise the chosen are of interest at a global scale. The window fields are:

    There are six buttons:

    After producing the map you should copy the contents of the Properties field into the [Map] Section of the Preferences file.

    You can also run the program on the command line. In this case the parameters are passed to the program as follows:

          getmap.exe <north_latitude west_longitude south_latitude east_longitude zoom output_file_name zoom=zoom width=width height=height url=map_url>
    

    The first six parameters are positional.

    An output_file_name of ? will calculate the size of the map and indicate the boundaries for the map

    Map Preferences

    Many options can be specified by a preferences file. The following properties in the [Map] Section are created by getmap.

    Section Properties
    [Map] Details on the map including geographic boundaries. Properties are:

    map Map file showing area of interest. The map can be any graphic image, even a blank image such as provided in the sample files as blank.jpg
    map_choice It is possible to choose one of a number of maps using the map_choice parameter. Properties suffixed with the map_choice value will override the default values. For example, map_choice=1 will use values from map1 etc. and will use colours from the [Colors1] section
    projection Map projection such as EPSG:3857. EPSG:3857 (WGS 84 / Popular Visualisation Pseudo-Mercator) is a Spherical Mercator projection coordinate system popularised by web services such as Google and later OpenStreetMap. It allows an area of the earth to be projected as a rectangle. This is the format created by getmap
    lower_right lower right corner of the map in format latitude, longitude
    upper_left Upper left corner of the map in format latitude, longitude

    Back to top

    Obtaining Current SWIS Facilities

    The initial SWIS data provided with SIREN is for 2014 and 2015 with existing renewable stations at that time. Updates to this data are available on the AEMO Market Data website. The SWIS data used by SIREN is as follows.

    SWIS Network

    SIREN uses a simplified network to reduce the overhead in adding stations into the network and to trace their links to the Perth Load Centre. This simple network was derived from a national network diagram for Australia available in a number of formats, including as a KMZ file, from Geoscience Australia (Electricity Transmission Lines; accessed Oct 2017)

    There is also a list of Australian power stations available (Power Stations; accessed Oct 2017)

    Existing Stations (Facilities)

    SIREN uses the list of registered facilities available from AEMO (specifically facilities.csv) for it's existing stations. If you want an updated version you can use updateswis to obtain the current list (see below).

    Load Data

    The load data for the SWIS has been obtained from Load Summary data available from AEMO. SIREN uses hourly load data rather than half hourly. The figures used are derived by summing the ‘Operational Load (MWh)’ data for the two half hourly intervals. You can use updateswis to obtain the latest load data (see below). The SWIS load data is generally available mid-month for two months prior.

    The AEMO also publish facility SCADA data.

    updateswis

    updateswis.py is a Python program that can be used to access the current list of facilities (power stations) for the SWIS and to obtain recent load data. The program will download the list of existing stations and optionally update the file SIREN uses for existing stations (grid_stations property of the [Files] Section of the Preferences file). To aid readability you can optionally produce an additional file, Excel or CSV, that will save the list in the same format as a SIREN scenario file. Load data can also be downloaded for prior years to a filename defined by the load property of the [Files] Section of the Preferences file.

    You can run updateswis from the SIREN Tools menu or in Windows by running updateswis.exe in the siren folder. Running it with no parameters will present an interactive window to simplify passing parameters to the tool. The window fields are:

    There are four buttons:

    You can also run the program on the command line. In this case the parameters are passed to the program as follows:

          updateswis.exe <SIREN.ini parm1=value parm2=value>
    

    Parameters are as described above and can be passed to the program as follows. If either wrap or year is passed as a parameter load data will be obtained, otherwise facility data will be obtained.

    Back to top

    Validation of NASA MERRA-2 Data and the SAM Models

    SAM uses meteorological and solar data to model output of various renewable energy technologies. NASA MERRA-2 data is a suitable source to generate data files containing all weather variables required for input to SAM. It allows weather files to be created on a grid of 0.625 degree of longitude by 0.5 degree of latitude. This is approximately an area of 55 Km x 55 Km for the SWIS latitudes.

    Initial correlations between generation calculated by SAM models using NASA MERRA data and actual SCADA generation data (AEMO facility SCADA data) obtained by SEN in 2014 are strong enough to support the use of NASA MERRA-derived data for the purposes of the simulation. Average correlation was 0.77, varying from 0.70 to 0.83 for wind and 0.95 for the one utility scale PV farm on the SWIS network.

    More recently MERRA-2 data has been used. The level of correlation measured in 2014 has continued over the years. The following figure graphically presents this correlation for 2018 by showing progressive calculated generation (solid lines) with actual SCADA data (dotted lines) for each renewable generation station on the SWIS. Average correlation for 2018 was 0.79, varying from 0.69 to 0.83 for wind and 0.94 for the one utility scale PV farm on the SWIS network.

    Correlation

    Note: Initially, the swgnt (surface net downward shortwave flux) MERRA variable was used to generate the solar weather variables. This produced outputs that were slightly lower than observed data. To compensate for this a losses percentage of 5 (percent) was used for the SAM pvwattsv5 model. Subsequent work has identified the swgdn (surface incoming shortwave flux) MERRA-2 variable as a more appropriate resource. Using this variable, a losses percentage of 14 - the SAM default - can be used. Validation using either variable (swgnt and 5%, or swgdn and 14%) produces essentially identical results and correlations.

    Obtaining and Using NASA MERRA-2 Data for SAM weather files

    Using NASA MERRA-2 Data for input to SAM

    SAM uses meteorological and solar data to model output of various renewable energy technologies. NASA MERRA-2 data is a suitable source to generate data files containing all weather variables required for input to SAM. It allows weather files to be created on a grid of 0.625 degree of longitude by 0.5 degree of latitude. This is approximately an area of 55 Km x 55 Km for the SWIS latitudes.

    Two MERRA-2 data files are appropriate for our needs:

    Obtaining MERRA-2 Data

    MERRA-2 Data is publicly available and the following steps can be used to obtain the required data.

    Register for access

    To access MERRA-2 data you need URS Authentication as follows:

    1. Read Data Access or EDL User Knowledge Base
    2. Go to https://urs.earthdata.nasa.gov/ and register a username
    3. After registering login into your account and choose the My Applications menu option
    4. Click the APPROVE MORE APPLICATIONS button
    5. Search for NASA GESDICS DATA ARCHIVE and APPROVE that application
    6. Create a .netrc file for authentication to download the MERRA-2 files.

    Obtaining data

    As an easier alternative to following these steps you might want to use getmerra2 - see Get MERRA-2 Files.

    1. Enter the MERRA-2 data subset URL, http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/daac-bin/FTPSubset2.pl in your browser
    2. Within the MDISC Data Subset page choose appropriate options as follows:
      1. Data Product
        Select Data Product from the pull-down list:
        1. MERRA-2 tavg1_2d_slv_Nx for wind
        2. MERRA-2 tavg1_2d_rad_Nx for solar
      2. Spatial Search
        Select area of interest. As a minimum the spatial bounding box must be at least 1.25 x 1.0. For the SWIS choose:
        W: 113 N:-26 S: -37 E: 123
        Press Update Map to check geographic spread
      3. Temporal Order Option
        Select range of dates. It is most convenient to select full years. As times are UTC we need the last last day of the prior period (year) to obtain data for the initial hours of the first day in the local timezone (8 hours for WA)
      4. Parameters
        To reduce the size of the data files select just those variables we need:
        1. tavg1_2d_slv_Nx
          ps t10m t2m u10m u2m u50m v10m v2m v50m
        2. tavg1_2d_rad_Nx
          swgdn and/or swgnt
        3. tavg1_2d_flx_Nx, tavg1_2d_lnd_Nx or tavg1_2d_mld_Nx (experimental)
          prectot
      5. Output File Format
        Select NetCDF from the pull-down list
      6. Press Start Search
    3. Follow the instructions on the resulting FTP Subset Results page (Subsetted Data Download Instructions)
      1. Save the list of URLs
      2. Copy the file to the sub-folder you want the files downloaded to
    4. Open a terminal window and navigate to the sub-folder you want the files downloaded to
      1. Run the wget command as displayed in the FTP Subset Results page. This uses the downloaded list. You can copy and paste the command into the terminal window. The command will be something like
        wget --load-cookies ~/.urs_cookies --save-cookies ~/.urs_cookies --auth-no-challenge=on --keep-session-cookies -i ...
        
        You should use the --content-disposition option in your wget command to avoid Filename too long errors (that is...
        wget --load-cookies ~/.urs_cookies --save-cookies ~/.urs_cookies --auth-no-challenge=on --keep-session-cookies --content-disposition -i 
        

    This process uses wget to download the MERRA-2 data files. Typically there is a single file for each day of interest so using wget simplifies the process of downloading them. Wget is a free network utility to retrieve files from the World Wide Web using HTTP and FTP, the two most widely used Internet protocols. There are versions available for most platforms.

    wget for Windows

    Earlier versions of wget for windows will not work with the requirements for URS authentication. Version 1.18 has been successfully tested. The following steps highlight an approach:

    1. Obtain a suitable version of wget, such as wget-1.18-win32.zip for the full package or wget.exe for just wget itself. Only the .exe file is required
    2. Create a .netrc file as described in the Wget with URS Authentication link above
    3. Create a HOME environment variable which points to the folder containing the .netrc file (typically this is set to Users/username)
    4. Open a terminal window, navigate to where you have the list of urls and invoke wget

    Get MERRA-2 Files

    getmerra2 provides an easier alternate way of downloading MERRA-2 files than that described in Obtaining data. This approach uses wget but removes the need to manually follow those steps above. You still need to Register for access.

    When you first execute getmerra2 it will check for a .netrc file and if it can't find one it will prompt for the details required. If you've invoked getmerra2 in a Windows terminal window and a HOME environment variable does not exist you will need to close and reopen a new terminal window to make the environment variable available to getmerra2.

    getmerra2

    getmerra2.py is a Python program that can be used to download MERRA-2 files required to create weather files for SAM. You can invoke the program either by choosing getmerra2 from the SIREN Tools menu or in Windows by running getmerra2.exe in the siren folder. The program accepts a SIREN Preferences file as an optional parameter. The window fields are:

    There are seven buttons:

    Downloading the MERRA-2 files are performed by new tasks allowing you to close the getmerra2 window once you have requested the files. Depending on the area and date range the process of downloading is likely to take significant time. A log file named wget_type_yyyy-mm-dd_hhmm.log will be produced, where type is either wind or solar and yyyy-mm-dd_hhmm.log is the date and time wget was invoked. A file named wget_type_yyyy-mm-dd_hhmm.txt will contain the list of files to be downloaded and wget_type_yyyy-mm-dd_hhmm.bat will contain the wget command (in case you encounter problems).

    You can also run the program on the command line. In this case the parameters are passed to the program as follows:

          getmerra2.exe <parm1=value parm2=value>
    

    Parameters are as described above and can be passed to the program as follows:

    Notes:

    1. The first time you use getmerra2 you should run it interactively to ensure the correct environment (e.g. .netrc file) is established
    2. If you invoke the program with collection, target folder, check and wget parameters wget will be launched to download more recent files into the target folder with the same area of interest as the existing files.

    Produce wind and solar weather files

    makeweatherfiles

    makeweatherfiles.py is a Python program that can be used to produce solar and/or wind weather files for input to SAM. The program generates SMW (preferred for SAM) or CSV format solar resource files and SRW format wind resource files. These file formats have been chosen as they're easier to generate than other formats. Using the program you specify the source folder for the MERRA-2 data files, the time zone for the area of interest, a file format and target folder for the weather files. The program will generate files for each of the MERRA-2 grid squares within the chosen MERRA-2 data files or optionally for a number of latitude and longitude positions. You can invoke the program either by choosing makeweatherfiles from the SIREN Tools menu or in Windows by running makeweatherfiles.exe in the siren (or makeweatherfiles) folder. Running it with no parameters will present an interactive window to simplify passing parameters to the tool. The window fields are:

    There are five buttons:

    Creation of weather files may take some time so please be patient. There are two progress bars that will display to indicate how far along the process the program is. The tool will produce an output report which will include the list of weather files produced. The report will include a return code as follows:

    You can also run the program on the command line. In this case the parameters are passed to the program as follows:

          makeweatherfiles.exe <parm1=value parm2=value>
    

    Parameters are as described above and can be passed to the program as follows:

    Notes:

    1. The program should also handle MERRA (version 1) data files downloaded (probably) prior to February 2016
    2. The program assumes each day of data is a separate file and uses the filename to as a “key” to the data. It relies on:
    3. A packaged version of makeweatherfiles for Windows is available as a self-extracting zip file from https://sourceforge.net/projects/sensiren/. The file is sen_makeweather_getmerra2.exe (the package has been created with PyInstaller) and contains both makeweatherfiles and getmerra2 which enables MERRA-2 files to be downloaded. This package allows you to create SAM weather files from MERRA-2 files without requiring any other parts of SIREN

    Using getmerra2 and makeweatherfiles

    To make use of getmerra2 and makeweatherfiles the following steps should help:

    1. Ensure you Register for access as described above to gain access to the MERRA-2 data

    2. Set up a .netrc file and for Windows a HOME environment variable. The first time you invoke getmerra2 it will allow you to set these up

    3. Run getmerra2 to get the MERRA-2 data for your area of interest

      1. You specify the bounding coordinates for your area of interest. For example, for the SWIS in Western Australia you could input North -26.0, South -36.0, West 113.125 and East 122.5. The area has to be at least 1 degree of latitude high by 1.25 degree longitude wide
      2. Specify the date range. To create a SAM weather file you need at least one year of data plus the last day of the prior year and/or the first day of the next year. As an example Start date: 31/12/15 (or 2015-12-31) and End date: 01/01/17 (or 2017-01-01) will download data for 2016. MERRA-2 data is based upon UTC while SAM files are local time. In the case of the SWIS, UTC+8, the first 8 hours of the year will be in the last day of the previous year; for UTC-n, the last n hours of the year will be in the first day of the next year
      3. Click on the target folder field to specify a location for the MERRA-2 data. It's OK to store both wind and solar files in the same folder
      4. Click Get Solar for solar files and Get Wind for wind files. If you're creating solar weather files you'll need both. When you click the buttons getmerra2 will launch separate tasks to download the files into the target folder. You can Quit out of getmerra2 as this stage. The two tasks will probably take a while to run as they have to download individual files for each day in the range. The output and success will be in a log file in the target folder
      5. If you click Check Solar or Check Wind getmerra2 will interrogate MERRA-2 solar files in the appropriate Target Folder to provide the boundaries for the Area of Interest and set the starting date to download the next day in sequence. The interrogation will cater for files in yearly sub-folders

    4. Once the MERRA-2 files are downloaded run makeweatherfiles to create the SAM weather files

      1. Specify the year, 2016 in the case above
      2. Click on the source folder(s) to locate the MERRA-2 files. This will be the same as point 1.3 above
      3. Click on Target folder to specify a location for the weather files. It's convenient to use a different folder to the MERRA-2 files
      4. You can click File Info to test if the MERRA-2 files are OK. This reads the first file of the year (e.g. 20160101) and displays the dimensions of the MERRA-2 file. The output shows the latitude and longitude cells covered
      5. Click Produce Solar Files to create solar weather files. Clicking the button will cause makeweatherfiles to create the weather files. It will take a while to run so please be patient. There are two progress bars that will display to indicate how far along the process the program is. It will eventually return with an output listing of the files produced
      6. Click Produce Wind Files to create wind weather files. Same deal as solar

    SAM Weather Files

    Wind Files

    SRW format wind files are one of the formats acceptable to SAM. This format has been chosen as it's easier to generate than other formats. MERRA-2 variables from tavg1_2d_slv_Nx data files are used to create the SRW variables.

    SRW Variables MERRA-2 Variables
    Column Variable Units   Description Units
    1 Temperature (at 2m) oC t2m Temperature at 2 m above the displacement height oK
    2 Pressure (at 0m) atm ps Time averaged surface pressure Pa
    3 Direction (at 2m) degrees u2m Eastward wind at 2 m above displacement height m/s
    4 Speed (at 2m) m/s v2m Northward wind at 2 m above the displacement height m/s
    5 Temperature (at 10m) oC t10m Temperature at 10 m above the displacement height oK
    6 Direction (at 10m) degrees u10m Eastward wind at 10 m above displacement height m/s
    7 Speed m/s v10m Northward wind at 10 m above the displacement height m/s
    8 Direction (at 50m) degrees u50m Eastward wind at 50 m above surface m/s
    9 Speed (at 50m) m/s v50m Northward wind at 50 m above surface m/s
    Solar Files

    SMW format solar files are one of the formats acceptable to SAM. This format has been chosen as it's easier to generate than other formats. MERRA-2 variables from both tavg1_2d_rad_Nx and tavg1_2d_slv_Nx data files are used to create the SMW variables.

    SMW Variables MERRA-2 Variables
    Column Variable Units   Description Units
    1 Tdry oC t10m Temperature at 10 m above the displacement height oK
    5 Wspd m/s u10m Eastward wind at 10 m above displacement height m/s
    6 Wdir degrees v10m Northward wind at 10 m above the displacement height m/s
    7 Pres ps Time averaged surface pressure Pa
    8 GHI W/m2 swgdn /
    swgnt
    Surface incoming shortwave flux
    Surface net downward shortwave flux
    (from tavg1_2d_rad_Nx data files)
    W/m2
    9 DNI W/m2 swgdn /
    swgnt
       
    10 DHI W/m2 swgdn /
    swgnt
       

    Background on MERRA-2

    “The Modern Era Retrospective-analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2 (MERRA-2) is a NASA atmospheric data reanalysis for the satellite era using a major new version of the Goddard Earth Observing System Data Assimilation System Version 5 (GEOS-5). MERRA-2 focuses on historical analyses of the hydrological cycle on a broad range of weather and climate time scales, and places the NASA EOS suite of observations in a climate context.”

    Back to top

    Using other Weather Files

    The use of MERRA data for the weather files is not necessary but provides a way of obtaining (gridded) weather data for any geographic area. Any weather files suitable for SAM can be used by SIREN. Weather Data describes these file formats and Weather Data for non-U.S. Locations gives some details on where non-U.S. weather data may be obtained.

    SIREN has two approaches for obtaining weather files:

    1. Having the geographic location of the file as part of the file name. This option uses file name formats of <location_latitude_longitude_year> and includes files created from MERRA-2 data by makeweatherfiles. The location for weather files for solar and wind are defined by the solar_files and wind_files properties in the [Files] Section of the Preferences file
    2. By using an index file. To use other files you need to create index files that contain the latitude, longitude and file name for each weather file, where the filename is relative to the location for the weather files. Index files for solar and wind are defined by the solar_index and wind_index properties. You can either create these files manually or use indexweather to create an index
    indexweather

    indexweather.py is a Python program that can be used to create an index of solar and/or wind weather files for input to SAM. The program generates an index file that contains latitude, longitude and file name for each weather file. It does this by interrogating some of weather file formats supported by SAM - SAM CSV, SMW and SRW - to obtain the three variables. You can invoke the program either by choosing indexweather from the SIREN Tools menu or in Windows by running indexweather.exe in the siren folder. Running it with no parameters will present an interactive window to simplify passing parameters to the tool. The window fields are:

    There are four buttons:

    You can also run the program on the command line. In this case the parameters are passed to the program as follows:

          indexweather.exe <parm1=value parm2=value>
    

    Parameters are as described above and can be passed to the program as follows:

    Back to top

    Visualising Renewable Resource Attributes

    To assist with placement of renewable energy stations SIREN can display a grid of renewable resource attributes derived from the SAM format weather files. This feature utilises summary data stored in a file rather than having to process hourly data from the weather files. The weather data values available are:

    The Resource Grid window allows you to choose the period and weather variable to display and how it will appear on the SIREN map. By default the period can be either the full year, a month or a season. If there are appropriate files you can also display the variable for an hour within a month or a day. The window also has a Next button which allows you to “step” through the weather periods. You can also use Page Down and Page Up to step forward and back through the weather periods.

    The resource files, created by makegrid, summarise weather data for each grid cell to avoid having to process each weather file to obtain the data for the desired time period or hour. There are three possible levels of detail:

    makegrid

    makegrid.py is a Python program that can be used to create the resource grid file used by SIREN. You can invoke the program either by choosing makegrid from the SIREN Tools menu or in Windows by running makegrid.exe in the siren folder. Running it with no parameters will present an interactive window to allow you to define what file to create. The window fields are:

    There are three buttons:

    After producing the file you may want to copy contents of the Properties field into the [Files] Section of the Preferences file.

    You can also run the program on the command line. In this case the parameters are passed to the program as follows:

          makegrid.exe <parm1=value parm2=value>
    

    Parameters are as described above and can be passed to the program as follows:

    If the source folder(s) contains other CSV files makegrid may fail. If this happens it is probably safer to copy the weather files to a separate folder.

    Back to top

    SAM Models used by SIREN

    SIREN uses the NREL SAM SDK API (or SSC) for energy calculations. The current SSC version is 206 (Feb 9 2019). This is a collection of tools developed by NREL for creating renewable energy system models. See SAM Simulation Core SDK for details on the SDK. NREL also provide a user-friendly front end, SAM, to facilitate usage of the SAM models. The SAM front end will allow you to progress any modelling by SIREN to a greater level of detail.

    The SAM models are very comprehensive and can be quite complex. For example, there are around 200 input variables possible for the Solar Thermal model SIREN uses. To simplify the interface to SAM, SIREN uses a variable file for each technology to store default values for most variables and only requires a minimal number of variables to be set by the user, such as Capacity. The models used by SIREN and their variable files are as follows:

    Technology SAM Model [SAM_Modules] property SAM Description
    Biomass biomass biomass_variables Utility scale wind farm model (adapted from TRNSYS code by P.Quinlan and openWind software by AWS Truepower)
    CST tcsgeneric_solar cst_variables Generic CSP model using the generic solar TCS types
    Financial model 1 annualoutput annualoutput_variables Annual Output
    Financial model 2 ippppa ippppa_variables Utility IPP/Commercial PPA Finance model
    Geothermal geothermal geothermal_variables Geothermal monthly and hourly models using general power block code from TRNSYS Type 224 code by M.Wagner, and some GETEM model code
    PV
    Fixed PV
    Rooftop PV
    Single Axis PV
    Backtrack PV
    Tracking (Dual Axis) PV
    pvwattsv5 pv_variables PVWatts V5 - integrated hourly weather reader and PV system simulator
    Solar Thermal tcsmolten_salt solar_thermal_variables CSP molten salt power tower with hierarchical controller and dispatch optimization
    Offshore Wind
    Wind
    windpower wind_variables Utility scale wind farm model (adapted from TRNSYS code by P.Quinlan and openWind software by AWS Truepower)

    The variables SIREN requires are as follows. Those from the Preferences file are preceded with the Section they are in.
    Note: SAM Variables for tcsmolten_salt vary with SAM (SSC) Version

    SAM Model SAM Variable Source Comment
    annualoutput system_hourly_energy Power models Output from Power models
    biomass biopwr.feedstock.total [Biomass] multiplier Multiply by Station Capacity
    biopwr.feedstock.total_biomass [Biomass] multiplier Multiply by Station Capacity
    biopwr.feedstock.total_biomass_c [Biomass] multiplier Multiply by Station Capacity
    biopwr.feedstock.total_c   Computed from above plus carbon pct
    biopwr.plant.nameplate Station Capacity  
    file_name Station location Determines solar weather file to use
    system_capacity Station Capacity  
    geothermal file_name Station location Determines wind weather file to use
    hybrid_dispatch_schedule n/a Computed by SIREN
    nameplate Station Capacity  
    resource_potential Station Capacity * 10  
    resource_type Station Technology Currently computed as EGS
    ippppa construction_financing_cost capital_cost + grid_cost capital_cost from [<technology>],
    grid_cost from [Grid] calculations
    gen Power models Output from Power models
    system_capacity Station Capacity  
    total_installed_cost capital_cost + grid_cost Same as construction_financing_cost
    pvwattsv5 array_type Station Technology  
    azimuth Station Direction  
    dc_ac_ratio [PV] dc_ac_ratio May also specify for [Backtrack PV], [Fixed PV],
    [Rooftop PV], [Single Axis PV], [Tracking PV]
    losses [PV] losses  
    solar_resource_file Station location Determines solar weather file to use
    system_capacity Station Capacity Multiplied by dc_ac_ratio
    tilt Station Tilt  
    tcsgeneric_solar file_name Station location Determines solar weather file to use
    hrs_tes Station Storage_Hours or
    [CST] tshours
     
    latitude Station latitude  
    longitude Station longitude  
    optical_table Mirror layout Provided by SIREN (from SAM modelling)
    system_capacity Station Capacity  
    timezone Station timezone Computed by SIREN from Station location
    w_des Station Capacity /
    [CST] gross_net
     
    weekday_schedule n/a Computed by SIREN
    weekend_schedule n/a Computed by SIREN
    tcsmolten_salt Design_power Station Capacity  
    dispatch_sched_weekday n/a Computed by SIREN
    dispatch_sched_weekend n/a Computed by SIREN
    gross_net_conversion_factor [Solar Thermal] gross_net  
    helio_positions Heliostat layout Provided by SIREN (from SAM modelling)
    P_ref Station Capacity /
    [Solar Thermal] gross_net
     
    solar_resource_file Station location Determines solar weather file to use
    system_capacity Station Capacity  
    tshours Station Storage_Hours or
    [Solar Thermal] tshours
     
    vol_tank Station Capacity *
    storage hours *
    [Solar Thermal] volume
     
    W_pb_design Station Capacity /
    [Solar Thermal] gross_net
     
    weekday_schedule n/a Computed by SIREN
    weekend_schedule n/a Computed by SIREN
    windpower system_capacity Station Capacity  
    wind_farm_losses_percent [Wind] wind_farm_losses_percent  
    wind_farm_xCoordinates
    wind_farm_yCoordinates
    [Wind] offset_spacing
    [Wind] turbine_spacing
    [Wind] row_spacing
    Computed from these values
    wind_resource_filename Station location Determines wind weather file to use
    wind_turbine_cutin Station Turbine From turbine details
    wind_turbine_powercurve_windspeeds Station Turbine From turbine details
    wind_turbine_powercurve_powerout Station Turbine From turbine details
    wind_turbine_rotor_diameter Station Rotor  
    wind_turbine_cutin Station Turbine From turbine details

    Using the full power of SAM

    It is possible to use the full capabilities of SAM by one of two methods:

    1. Use SAM:
      1. Run the appropriate model and parameters for the station of interest
      2. Save the hourly power generation figures produce by SAM
      3. Update the Power File field for the station to point this file
      4. Rather than running the Power Model SIREN will access this data file to obtain the hourly figures
    2. Create a specific variables file for the technology you're interested in
      1. Using the existing file as a starting point create you own version of the file. The structure of the file is generally self-explanatory. Most of the file is created from the SDK with an addition DEFAULT column
      2. Update the appropriate property in the [SAM Modules] Section of the Preferences file to point to your file
      3. SIREN will then use your file to process that technology
      4. If you require different options for different stations with the same technology you can use the Save Hourly Data Output option to save the output for each station. Using Generation - from chosen stations you can create a more specific file

    Back to top

    Other Models used by SIREN (experimental)

    SIREN will support models to accommodate other technologies not supported by SAM models. As well as this it is possible to provide a list of generation figures for a Station using the Power File field (see Stations).

    Hydro

    The Hydro model used in SIREN is a very simplistic model computed by multiplying station capacity by the defined capacity factor for Hydro.

    Wave

    The Wave model used in SIREN is (currently) a very simplistic model computed using wind speed (after Bretschneider and Sverdrup and Munk):

         Wave_Height = 0.023 * 0.3048 * (Wind_Speed * 1.94384)2  (0.3048 converts feet to metres, 1.94384 converts knots to m/s)
         Wave_Period = 0.45 * Wind_Speed * 1.94384
         Wave_Power = Wave_Height2 * Wave_Period * Efficiency of technology
    

    There is no constraint (such as being in water) on where Stations may be placed. The CFs are probably too high but can be reduced by capping wave height ([Wave] cutout) to, say, around 2.?m

    Other

    SIREN will also support creation of you own model to support other technologies. The approach is to execute a model formula that you create for each of the 8,760 hours of appropriate weather data to calculate the power produced for that hour. The formula can be created by referencing each of the weather data variables, any other variables you define for that technology plus normal mathematical operators (refer to en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Python_Programming/Basic_Math#Mathematical_Operators). The weather variables recognised are: dhi, dni, ghi, temp, wind, and wind50. To achieve this you need to:

    1. Identify the technology by giving it a name of Other plus a suffix, say Other Tech, and create a Section with that name in the Preferences file
    2. Create appropriate Properties for that technology and any other variables you want for it (see the [Other] Section in the Preferences file)
    3. There are standard Properties of area, capital_cost, icon, and o_m_cost.
    4. The formula is identified by the formula Property. Any calculated value will be capped at 1 to prevent a CF greater than 1
    5. Add the technology (lower case with spaces replaced by underscores, e.g. other_tech) as a colour Property in the [Color] Section of the Preferences file
    6. Add the technology (lower case with spaces replaced by underscores, e.g. other_tech) to the technologies Property in the [Power] Section of the Preferences file
    7. If the technology can be regarded as dispatchable you can also add it to the dispatchable Property in the [Grid] Section of the Preferences file (lower case with spaces replaced by underscores, e.g. other_tech)

    The following sample defines a technology, Other Wave, similar to the Wave model (above but with no cutout). It contains an additional property, efficiency.
         [Other Wave]
         area=<area per MW>
         capital_cost<Capital cost per peak MW>
         efficiency=<technology efficiency>
         o_m_cost=<Operations and Maintenance cost per peak MW>
         formula=pow(0.0070104 * ( wind * 1.94384)**2,2) * 0.45 * wind * 1.94384 * efficiency * .125
    

    Back to top

    Select area on world map

    worldwindow can be used with getmap (see Obtaining a Suitable Map Image) and getmerra2 (see Get MERRA-2 Files) to choose the Area of Interest for a map or for downloading MERRA-2 data. It presents a world map and allows you to choose the area of interest by clicking within the map and updating the area values in the two calling programs

    Using worldwindow

    To use worldwindow you simply left click in the map the top left corner of the desired Area of Interest and then left click the bottom right corner. worldwindow will display a rectangle on the world map highlighting the desired area and update the Area of Interest in the calling program. To choose a different area just repeat the process.

    worldwindow Menu Structure

    View Overlay items on the world map. Those identified with a tick icon can be toggled on or off

    Scale Ruler  Scale Ruler (Ctrl+R) If True Display a Scale Ruler. If you want to move the ruler you need to toggle it off and then back on again
    Show Coordinates Grid  Coordinates Grid (Ctrl+G) Display a grid for every 10 degrees of latitude and longitude
    Show MERRA-2 Grid  MERRA-2 Grid (Ctrl+M) Display a grid for every MERRA-2 cell. Due to the number of cells (720 latitude x 576 longitude) this is not very useful unless you zoom in
    many Areas  Show many Areas This will allow input of coordinates for a number of areas. You enter name (optional), upper latitude, west (left) longitude, lower latitude and east (right) longitude separated by commas for each area of interest. This will then update the map highlighting all areas on the map. This option is useful if you want to show a view of several areas of interest. Note: At present you cannot download maps for each area
    Save View  Save View (Ctrl+V) Save the current view to an image file
    Preferences Edit or display aspects of the getfiles Preferences file. Changes for some variables will take effect immediately on exit from the edit program while others (such as the map) will require you to restart the simulation

    Edit Preferences  Edit Preferences File(Ctrl+E) Edit the getfiles Preferences file. This option invokes a simple text editor to allow the whole file to be edited
    Edit Colours  Edit Colours (Ctrl+U) Edit colours for the world map
    Edit Section  Edit Section Edit a specific Section of the Preferences file. You will be presented with a list of Sections to choose the desired one. The edit program will then present a table of current Properties and their values
    Help Display some help about the program

    Help  Help (F1) Display the help for worldwindow. The default help file, help.html, is a standard HTML file which can be displayed with your browser

    getfiles Preferences

    The getfiles Preferences file contains preferences specifically for worldwindow and the programs using it. The file resides in the same folder as worldwindow itself.

    Section Properties
    [Colors] Colours for things. It is possible to edit colours and save the changes via a menu option. Standard colours are:

    white, black, red, darkRed, green, darkGreen, blue, darkBlue, cyan, darkCyan, magenta, darkMagenta, yellow, darkYellow, gray, darkGray, lightGray and transparent; or you can use #rrggbb to specify red-green-blue HTML colour shades.

    Colour properties are:

    background Colour for the background surrounding the map
    border Provide a border colour for areas of interest
    grid The colour for the latitude / longitude grid
    mgrid The colour for the MERRA-2 grid
    ruler Colour for the ruler. If you specify a value of guess the ruler should display white on dark and black on light (but it's not perfect)
    [Files] Files and directories. You can either specify the folder as the full path or relative to the siren folder (not the folder the Preferences file resides in). Properties are:

    help    Help file
    [getmerra2] These properties are used by getmerra2 to create requests to download MERRA-2 data files. Normally they should not be changed. They're here just to document their content and purpose. Values enclosed in dollars signs ($) are substituted at execution time. Properties are:

    filename The name of the MERRA-2 file on the NASA MERRA-2 server
    label Label parameter
    server The MERRA-2 server
    solar_collection The name of the MERRA-2 dataset used to obtain solar variables
    solar_esdt The short description of the MERRA-2 solar dataset
    solar_variables The variables obtained from the MERRA-2 solar dataset
    url_prefix URL prefix
    url_parms Parameters passed to the URL server
    wait_days MERRA-2 datasets are usually available about 42 days (i.e. 6 weeks) after the actual date. You can use this property to override the default number of 42 days
    wget used to create the filename strings used by wget
    wget_cmd The command used to invoke wget to download the MERRA-2 data files
    wind_collection The name of the MERRA-2 dataset used to obtain wind variables
    wind_esdt The short description of the MERRA-2 wind dataset
    wind_variables The variables obtained from the MERRA-2 solar dataset
    [getmap] These properties are used by getmap to create requests to download map images. Normally they should not be changed. They're here just to document their content and purpose. Properties are:

    mapquest_url MapQuest server
    mapquest_tail Command passed to the MapQuest server
    mapquest_key Key for MapQuest requests
    max_zoom Specify the maximum zoom level for map tile downloads. The default of 11 is to restrict large downloads
    url_template URL template for openstreetmap requests
    [Map] Details on the world map. Properties are:

    map Map file showing the world. The map can be any graphic image, even a blank image such as provided in the sample files as blank.jpg. Default is world1.jpg
    map_choice It is possible to choose one of a number of maps using the map_choice parameter. Properties suffixed with the map_choice value will override the default values
    projection Map projection such as EPSG:3857. EPSG:3857 (WGS 84 / Popular Visualisation Pseudo-Mercator) is a Spherical Mercator projection coordinate system popularised by web services such as Google and later OpenStreetMap. It allows an area of the earth to be projected as a rectangle
    lower_right lower right corner of the map in format latitude, longitude. -85.06, 180. is the desired value
    upper_left Upper left corner of the map in format latitude, longitude. 85.06, 180. is the desired value
    [Parents] As per Parents
    [updateswis] These properties are used by updateswis to create requests to download AEMO data files. Normally they should not be changed. They're here just to document their content and purpose. Values enclosed in dollars signs ($) are substituted at execution time. Properties are:

    aemo_facilities AEMO facilities file location
    aemo_load AEMO load file location
    aemo_url AEMO server
    [View] Default world view options. Often these are True or False values that can be “toggled” in the world map. Properties are:

    centre_on_grid If True then centre on the chosen area of interest
    line_width Width of grid lines on the map in pixels. A line width of zero indicates a cosmetic pen. This means that the pen width is always drawn one pixel wide, independent of the level of zoom. This is the default. A value > 0 will show lines at this width irrespective of the size of the map. A value < 1 and > 0 will be used to calculate the number of pixels by multiplying the width of the map image by this value. A useful value is 0.0016. For example a map image 12,000 pixels wide will have grid lines 19.2 pixels wide
    ruler Length of ruler in kilometres in format or length, ticks where length specifies the total length of the ruler and ticks ticks indicates the length of tick marks along the ruler
    zoom_rate The zoom rate for the map view. Each zoom in or zoom out action will alter the displayed map by this amount. Values can be between .75 (75% or 133%) and 0.95 (95% or 105%). The default value is 0.8
    [Windows] Provides options to remember the world map window layout between sessions. Properties are:

    main_pos Position of world map window
    main_size Size of world map window
    main_view Dimensions of map in main window view
    restorewindows If True worldwindow will remember the window layout between sessions. Default is False

    Back to top

    Acronyms

    AEMO Australian Energy Market Operator. Responsible for operating the WEM
    API Application Programming Interface
    BOM Australian Bureau of Meteorology
    CF Capacity Factor. Average power generated divided by rated capacity (peak power)
    CO2-e A measure of greenhouse gas emissions in carbon dioxide equivalence. Greenhouse gas emissions can be one of a number of gases including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). The equivalence measure allows the global warming potential of each greenhouse gas to be standardised relative to carbon dioxide
    CSP or CST concentrated solar thermal power
    CSV comma-separated-variable file
    debugging The process of identifying and removing errors from computer hardware or software
    DHI Diffuse Horizontal Irradiance
    DNI Direct Normal Irradiance
    DSCR Debt-Service Coverage Ratio
    EGS Enhanced Geothermal Systems geothermal energy
    EOS Earth Observing System
    FTP File Transfer Protocol. A standard network protocol used to transfer computer files between a client and server on a computer network
    GMT Greenwich Mean Time. It is the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. GMT was formerly used as the international civil time standard, now superseded in that function by Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
    GEOS-5 Goddard Earth Observing System Data Assimilation System Version 5
    GHI Global Horizontal Irradiance
    GMAO US Global Modeling and Assimilation Office
    GWh Gigawatt hour
    HDR Hot Dry Rock geothermal energy. In the context of SIREN's use of the SAM geothermal model this is the same as EGS
    HTML Hyper Text Markup Language; used for describing web documents (web pages)
    HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol. An application protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web
    IMO WA Independent Market Operator. Formerly, responsible for operating the WEM
    INI Initialisation or configuration file popularised by early version of Windows
    IPP Independent power producer
    IRR Internal rate or return
    JPEG or JPG Joint Photographic Experts Group. A compressed image file format
    Kb kilobytes - 1,000 or 1,024 bytes
    Km Kilometre (or kilometer)
    KML Keyhole Markup Language. An XML based file format used to display geographic data in an Earth browser such as Google Earth, Google Maps
    KMZ A zipped KML file
    kW Kilowatts
    kWh Kilowatt hour
    LCOE Levelised cost of electricity. “The levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is a measure of a power source which attempts to compare different methods of electricity generation on a consistent basis. It is an economic assessment of the average total cost to build and operate a power-generating asset over its lifetime divided by the total energy output of the asset over that lifetime. The LCOE can also be regarded as the average minimum price at which electricity must be sold in order to break-even over the lifetime of the project.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source)
    m/s metres per second
    Mb megabytes - 1,000 or 1,024 Kb
    MERRA Modern Era Retrospective-analysis for Research and Applications is a NASA atmospheric data reanalysis for the satellite era
    MERRA-2 Modern Era Retrospective-analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2 is a NASA atmospheric data reanalysis for the satellite era
    MW Megawatt
    MWh Megawatt hour
    NASA US National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    NREL US National Renewable Energy Laboratory
    PNG Portable Network Graphics. A lossless compressed image file format
    POW A power curve file format associated with WAsp. The power curve file contains the wind turbine power output and, optionally, the thrust coefficient as a function of hub-height wind speed
    PPA Power purchase agreement
    SAM System Advisor Model
    SCADA Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition. A system for remote monitoring and control
    SDK Software Development Kit
    SEN Sustainable Energy Now
    SIREN SEN's Interactive Renewable Energy Network tool
    SMW A special SAM weather file format for sub-hourly simulations with the physical trough model. It contains only the weather data elements used by SAM's solar models
    SRW A special SAM weather file format for the wind power model. The format allows you to use wind resource data at one or more heights above the ground
    SSC SAM Simulation Core
    SWIS South West Interconnected System. The electricity network for the south west of WA
    TMY Typical Meteorological Year. Selected weather data for a specific location, generated from a data bank much longer than a year in duration. Gives annual averages that are consistent with the long-term averages for the location in question
    URL Uniform Resource Locator. A reference (an address) to a resource on the Internet
    U.S., US or USA United States (of America)
    UTC Coordinated Universal Time
    W Watts
    WA Western Australia or Western Australian
    WAsP Wind Atlas Analysis and Application Program
    WEM Wholesale Electricity Market for the SWIS
    XLS Original file format for Excel spreadsheets. XLS files are stored internally in binary format
    XLSX Default file format for Excel spreadsheets since 2003. XLSX files are stored internally in an XML format
    XML Extensible Markup Language. A markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format which is both human-readable and machine-readable.

    Back to top