Siting renewable power generation assets with combinatorial optimisation

Mathias Berger, David Radu, Antoine Dubois, Hrvoje Pandžić, Yury Dvorkin, Quentin Louveaux, Damien Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper studies the problem of siting renewable power generation assets using large amounts of climatological data while accounting for their spatiotemporal complementarity. The problem is cast as a combinatorial optimisation problem selecting a pre-specified number of sites so as to minimise the number of simultaneous low electricity production events that they experience relative to a pre-specified reference production level. It is shown that the resulting model is closely related to submodular optimisation and can be interpreted as generalising the well-known maximum coverage problem. Both deterministic and randomised algorithms are discussed, including greedy, local search and relaxation-based heuristics as well as combinations of these algorithms. The usefulness of the model and methods is illustrated by a realistic case study inspired by the problem of siting onshore wind power plants in Europe, resulting in instances featuring over ten thousand candidate locations and ten years of hourly-sampled meteorological data. The proposed solution methods are benchmarked against a state-of-the-art mixed-integer programming solver and several algorithms are found to consistently produce better solutions at a fraction of the computational cost. The physical nature of solutions provided by the model is also investigated, and all deployment patterns are found to be unable to supply a constant share of the electricity demand at all times. Finally, a cross-validation analysis shows that, except for an edge case, the model can successfully and reliably identify deployment patterns that perform well on previously unseen climatological data from historical data spanning a small number of weather years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-907
Number of pages31
JournalOptimization Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Asset siting
  • Combinatorial optimisation
  • Coverage problems
  • Renewable energy
  • Resource complementarity
  • Submodular maximisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization


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