Harnessing the power of MDIO – revolutionizing the wind energy sector with advanced data processing

First Published: Wind Energy Network, August 2023
by Altay Sansal, Sribharath Kainkaryam, Ben Lasscock, and Alejandro Valenciano, TGS

In an age dominated by data, the wind energy sector is no stranger to the challenges and opportunities presented by large-scale data handling – as stakeholders and developers push to realise the vast potential of offshore wind energy, the need for efficient data storage and processing becomes paramount – enter the MDIO format, a game-changing solution designed to transform how the industry approaches its most valuable asset: data.

The rise of MDIO and Its significance
MDIO, or Multi Dimensional Input Output, has emerged as a revolutionary open-sourced solution for storing and analysing terabyte-scale datasets, primarily focused on numerical weather prediction (NWP) and exploration seismology data. The allure of MDIO lies not just in its capacity to handle vast amounts of data but in its ability to do so swiftly and effectively.
In wind energy applications, timely and precise data interpretation is everything. Stakeholders must quickly access point time series and maps – the primary means of consuming wind energy data. With MDIO, users can access this crucial information almost instantaneously, a capability previously hampered by legacy storage and access systems.

MDIO – a closer look at its capabilities
One of the standout features of MDIO is its adaptability and compatibility with open-source tools, including but not limited to:

• Zarr – efficiently storing large numerical arrays
• Dask – enabling parallel computing and dynamic task scheduling
• Xarray – handling labelled multi-dimensional arrays
• Pangeo – a community-driven platform promoting open, reproducible, and scalable science
• FSSPEC – handling files and protocols
• Apache Airflow – automating, scheduling and monitoring workflows

By synergising with these tools, MDIO provides an end-to-end solution that supports the entire data processing workflow. Notably, with platforms like Google Cloud, stakeholders can run these workflows with added scalability and performance optimisation.

MDIO in action – transforming wind models
Consider this scenario – you have 50TB of wind models coupled with the comprehensive ERA5 dataset. The primary challenge lies in extracting meaningful long-term statistics from these models. MDIO’s approach begins by optimising the structure of Zarr datasets for this specific energy data. The result? enhanced performance and scalability ensure that even substantial datasets can be processed and analysed efficiently in the cloud.

The implications of such capabilities are far-reaching. Offshore wind energy developers, who previously might have struggled with data bottlenecks, can now accelerate their project timelines. This efficiency translates to more informed bidding on offshore leases and, ultimately, more effective deployment of wind energy infrastructure.

Promoting growth and sustainability
The open-source nature of MDIO underscores a commitment to community and collaboration. By making this technology freely available, MDIO champions share a powerful tool and invite ongoing innovation. The iterative refinement that open-source platforms encourage means that MDIO will continually evolve in response to the industry’s changing needs.
Furthermore, the MDIO community is not just a passive beneficiary of existing open-source tools. They actively contribute to these projects, ensuring their expertise and insights benefit the broader ecosystem.

The broader implications
The advent of MDIO serves as a timely reminder of the critical role data plays in shaping the renewable energy landscape. As stakeholders look towards a future powered increasingly by renewable sources, tools like MDIO will be at the forefront of this transition. The capacity to rapidly process and analyse wind energy data will shape investment decisions, infrastructure deployment, and long-term energy strategies.

For offshore wind energy developers and stakeholders, MDIO offers a solution that resonates with their most pressing needs. As the industry continues its digital transformation, migrating data and processing to cloud platforms, MDIO provides a roadmap for achieving this with maximum efficiency and minimum friction.

The wind energy sector stands at a pivotal juncture. The sector’s stakeholders face unprecedented challenges and opportunities as the world grapples with the pressing need to transition to sustainable energy sources. Tools like MDIO, with their promise of enhanced data processing and storage capabilities, are not just facilitating this transition; they’re accelerating it.

As we look to the future, innovations like these will shape the trajectory of the wind energy industry and, by extension, our sustainable energy future.

Read the original article here.