ORE Catapult invites data innovators to inaugural industry-backed hackathon


The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy, is to partner with ScottishPower Renewables (SPR), National Grid and the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) in its first £10,000-prize hackathon, taking place 28-29 October at the Glasgow Science Centre. 

The two-day hackathon will centre around an industrial data-led challenge set by ScottishPower Renewables, with the aim of developing a prototype solution for use in wind farm operations. The National Grid will join the hackathon’s judging panel, alongside the Catapult, ScottishPower Renewables and independent specialist Mike Anderson, formally of RES Group. 

Entrants are encouraged from all backgrounds, including UK-based small businesses, academics, students, consultancies and specialists from data-led sectors. Teams of up to six people will be eligible to win a £10,000 prize pot, with a view to working with ORE Catapult to develop their solution further, along with the opportunity to pitch that solution to senior managers from ScottishPower Renewables.

The problem statement for the 36-hour hackathon will be “Provide an accurate wind farm Power Available (PA) measure using data that is already available at operational wind farms”.  PA is the electrical power that can be provided by a wind farm at any given instant and is influenced by both the wind resource in that moment and the status of the assets, including any on-site curtailment. The challenge of providing Power Available signals highlights that operating a wind farm is far from just an engineering effort, but requires a wealth of pooled skills, including data and digitalisation expertise.

Dr Conaill Soraghan, Data & Digitalisation Team Leader at ORE Catapult, said: “We are very excited about this event and are very much looking forward to seeing what innovative prototypes the participants will bring forward for ScottishPower’s consideration. The National Grid has ambitions to gather a PA signal from all operational wind farms on the grid to improve efficiency and reduce the costs of running the entire national power system. However, current measures of PA are not accurate enough to be used in operations, and ORE Catapult hopes that the hackathon will provide a reliable business case to offer ongoing support on this topic after the competition.”

Tim Fletcher, Senior Asset Performance Analysis Engineer at ScottishPower Renewables added: “Providing real-time Power Available data to National Grid from wind farms is a vital step in the transition to a zero-carbon electricity system and will enable ScottishPower Renewables to further provide ancillary services such as frequency response. ScottishPower Renewables are excited that the Hackathon will yield innovative data science solutions from experts across the industry to unlock additional value from data streams already available from our wind farms.”

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