SgurrEnergy: Using High Performance Computing for Large Scale Renewable Energy Projects

Institute: University of Strathclyde


To date SgurrEnergy has assessed over 85,000MW of renewable energy developments internationally and this figure is growing rapidly every month. Clients include utilities, financiers, developers and many other public and private sector organisations.


SgurrEnergy is a leading independent engineering consultancy specialising in worldwide renewable energy projects, who has the capability to deliver at every phase of a project, from the early stages of site selection, feasibility and design, right through to project management of the construction, operation and maintenance phases. The company’s multi-disciplinary consultants have extensive sustainable energy experience worldwide.


ARCHIE-WeSt and the Wind Energy Preparation Programme (WEPP)


SgurrEnergy is the lead partner for the Wind Energy Preparation Programme (WEPP), as part of the larger Malawi Renewable Energy Acceleration Programme (M-REAP). The MREAP program is funded by the Scottish Government and is being led by the University of Strathclyde along with SgurrEnergy, IOD Parc and Community Energy Scotland. Partners in Malawi include the Government of Malawi (GoM), Department of Energy Affairs (DoEA), University of Malawi Polytechnic, Mzuzu University, Concern Universal, Mulanje Renewable Energy Agency, Opportunity International Bank Malawi and Energy Technology Partnership.


This programme has been established to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy technologies, on a domestic and commercial scale in Malawi, with a particular focus on the alleviation of poverty. The WEPP programme itself will encompass initial feasibility studies for a number of small wind farm sites, including anemometry mast installation and data collection on the preferred sites.


As part of an initial feasibility study, SgurrEnergy used the ARCHIE-WeSt HPC facility to run a Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) mesoscale wind resource model of Malawi (Fig. 1). Running a WRF mesoscale wind resource model over such a large area is very computationally intensive (12,600 core-hours was spent only on preliminary calculations) and as such the use of a dedicated HPC facility allowed the model to be set-up, tested and run in a timely fashion. The outputs of the wind resource model were used to identify areas within Malawi with a promising wind resource. They will also be used on an on-going basis to inform various elements of the detailed feasibility studies within the scope of the (WEPP) programme.


The results of the project will allow the wind farms to progress through to the final development and financing stages, and on to construction and operation with a low level of risk.


Leveraging the power of ARCHIE-WeSt for consultancy services


SgurrEnergy has also been able to leverage the power of ARCHIE-WeSt to provide consultancy services to the industry. For example, energy yield prediction and mesoscale wind resource assessment studies were performed for various proposed offshore wind farms off the north and west coasts of France. This involved performing a 10 year hindcast simulation using the WRF software employing 170,000 core hours of computation time on ARCHIE.