Systems Engineering

NREL's wind energy systems engineering initiative has developed an analysis platform to leverage its research capabilities toward integrating wind energy engineering and cost models across wind plants.

Illustration of a wind farm with a town in the background and a crane lifting the turbine blades onto the last turbine.
A complete wind energy system includes the plant's energy production, turbine costs, and balance of station and operational expenses as well as the plant's impacts on the electric grid, local communities, and the environment. Graphic by NREL

This platform captures the important interactions between various subsystems to achieve a better understanding of how to improve system-level performance and achieve system-level cost reductions.

The initiative's goal is to develop, maintain, and apply a software platform and leverage its research capabilities to:

  • Integrate wind plant engineering performance and cost software modeling to enable full system analysis
  • Apply advanced analysis methods in multidisciplinary design analysis and optimization and related fields to the study of wind plant system performance and cost
  • Develop a common platform and toolset to promote collaborative research and analysis among national laboratories, industry, and academia.


The Wind Energy Systems Engineering Workshop enables speakers in academia, industry, and international research laboratories to present and discuss topics relevant to systems engineering and the wind industry.

Access workshop archives to view presentations from the sixth Wind Energy Systems Engineering Workshop, which took place August/September 2022, as well as previous years' events.


Learn more about publications, presentations, and posters that apply a systems engineering approach to wind energy research, design, and development.


The NREL Systems Engineering Initiative develops, integrates, and analyzes wind energy system models and tools.


NREL has developed an overall integrated system analysis tool called the Wind-Plant Integrated System Design and Engineering Model (WISDEM®). WISDEM, NREL's core systems engineering software tool, integrates a full set of wind turbine and plant models for holistic system analysis. It includes modules for a full suite of wind plant models, including turbine aerodynamics, component structural analysis, component costs, plant operations and maintenance costs, financial models, wind plant layouts, and wind turbine aeroelastic simulations. One of the modules hosted within the WISDEM toolset—NREL's Land-based Balance of System Systems Engineering (LandBOSSE)—can be used to estimate the balance-of-system costs associated with onsite wind power plant construction at land-based wind plants. The modules, which can be run individually or collectively, are built on NASA's OpenMDAO software.


Open Multi-Disciplinary Design Analysis and Optimization (OpenMDAO), designed by NASA Glenn Research Center, is an open-source software package built in the Python programming language that integrates complex models for multi-disciplinary analysis work that may include sensitivity analysis, design of experiments, meta-modeling, uncertainty quantification, or optimization. It provides standard processes for wrapping individual simulation codes into OpenMDAO modules known as "components," which can then be connected together to create analysis "assemblies." These components and assemblies are then connected to "drivers" for a particular analysis. OpenMDAO provides several built-in drivers, and additional plugins have been created for other open-source drivers.