From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Public-images-osm logo.svg power = plant
Three mile island 062010.jpg
An industrial facility where power (electricity, useful heat, biogas) is produced by individual power generator units. Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the data item.
Rendering in openstreetmap-carto
Area power.png
Group: Power
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areasmay be used on relations
Useful combination
Incompatible with
Status: approvedPage for proposal

A power station (601-03-01, also referred to as a generating station, power plant, or powerhouse) is an industrial facility for the generation of energy (electricity, useful heat...).

Power plants may also be responsible for storing energy: in the case of electric power plants this is most commonly through hydroelectric pumped storage, although battery storage plants are becoming more common.

This page explains how we can map all power plants around the world, distinguished in two classes: enclosed and dispersed.

Please beware to not use power=transformer in this context : these devices are not designed to produce electricity but only to step up or down the voltage.

Recommended Tags

Key Value Comment Recommendation
power plant Defines this area as a power plant. basic tag
name name The name of the plant. recommended
operator Operator Name of the company that operates the power plant. recommended
start_date Date (YYYY-MM-DD) Date when the construction was finished, using ISO 8601. recommended
landuse industrial With the exception of wind farms, a power plant is an industrial facility. strongly recommended if not already inside a bigger landuse=industrial, else optional
plant:source The energy sources used List of energy sources used by individual generators within the plant. Multiple fuels should be separated by semicolons (;). Example: plant:source=coal;gas recommended
plant:method method The method by which the power plant works optional
plant:output:* Rated output The rated output of the whole facility often available in operator public documentation. The tagging is consistent with generator:output=*: a co-generation plant would have for example plant:output:electricity=* and plant:output:steam=* keys. They accept numeric values or yes if the exact rating is unknown. recommended when using simple tagging
plant:storage Rated storage capacity The amount of energy the plant can store. recommended for storage plants

Enclosed power plant

Functional chart of a conventional power plant

A power=plant is tagged as a area around the power plant perimeter (usually bordered by fence).

In this case, spatial capabilities of the database would enable us to retrieve features which are inside the power plant's perimeter. According to the functional chart, we must find object tagged as power=generator + generator:plant=output inside and attributes must be defined consistently with power plant's ones.

Many other stuff (buildings, substations) can be recommended or optional.

We can compare the total rating of a power plant, specified in plant:output=* and addition of all the generator:output=* values of its generator members :

Please note that this comparison is made on two axis : The first by comparing all kind of output in both plant and generators (it's a problem to have a plant with yes whereas there is no generator with generator:output:electricity=* for instance). The second axis is on the amount of each kind of power made as above rules.

As discussed on mailing list, we mustn't try to bind stuff (like outside power station for instance) to an enclosed power plant if it is not in the power plant perimeter. We'd better to create two independent objects. More information here: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/tagging/2013-April/013321.html

In some situations power plant could expose two or more distinct perimeters. This can be mapped with Relation:multipolygon relation and definitely fulfill the dispersed power plant model introduced below.

Plant area/perimeter

As discussed on tagging mailing list, power plant areas and perimeters would be pretty hard to map when many different operators share the same location on a generation site.

A simple rule to make the distinguishing between operators is to create a separate area for each one. Two or more power plants would directly be created.

In general, only one company is operating a power plant so if two or more operators are present on a site, we could have two different power plants or two different components for power generation. In all cases we mustn't map it in a single one area. Each area will have different operator=* values and potentially as many name=*. The key point is still the ownership of the land occupied by the power plant.

Furthermore and often, room is reserved besides actual power plants for future extensions. This room should be concerned by the power plant area right now since it's fenced as the main production site.

Finally, Relation:multipolygon relation doesn't match these operator consideration since operator distinguishing MUST be done.

Dispersed facilities power plants

Functional chart of a dispersed power plant

Wind, tidal, hydropower and photovoltaic power plants may consist of a group of generators in the same location used for production of electricity. Each turbine or panel would be tagged as power=generator.

The land between generators may be used for agricultural or other purposes while it may correspond to the ocean's ground for tidal farms. A wind/solar farm may also be located offshore instead of a tidal farm which is always located on the sea ground.

When there are several fenced areas around the power plant's sites, Relation:multipolygon relation with power=plant should be used.

Lillgrund Wind Farm, Sweden

Finally, relations with type=site should only be used when no specific perimeter surrounds buildings nor turbines.
Then create a relation using type=site + power=plant. Computing of total farm rating is done by adding all the generator:output:* values of its generator members which are described with generator:plant=output (output generator, see Generator chapter for more information).

Way or Node Recurrence? Refers to Recommendation
node area relation 1 or more All (output or intermediate) power generators of the power plant. mandatory
area relation 0 or more All substations of the power plant. recommended
node area relation 0 or more Any facility, building or component directly involved in the power plant process (let's not add parkings for instance) optional

See the approved proposal intended to map hydropower water supplies.


This key may be hard to use or understand. Take a look to all those quick examples to find out how it's simpler than it seems ;)

Renewable power

Power plant Tagging Description OSM ref
Verrerie solar power plant, France relation A 34ha solar farm producing 24 MW of electricity when sun comes up in south of France. With a little aerial imagery help, generators are taken as groups of solar cells for sake of simplicity. It is actually possible to use node for each photovoltaic module but it's really expensive in mapping time.

The relation accepts two closed and fenced perimeters, all generators and a transmission substation connecting to the way power grid.

relation 3501886


Power plant Tagging Description OSM ref
Vaires-sur-marne combustion power plant, France way Waires-sur-Marne used to host a coal power plant which was decommissioned and then destroyed to reuse the site for cleaner combustion turbines.

Currently, 3 combustion turbines of 185 MW each feed the power 225 kV power grid in the Paris area.

way 260698234


Power plant Tagging Description OSM ref
Hoover Dam, Nevada, USA relation Boulder dam is a famous dam built in early 1900's next to Las Vegas, USA. A substation collects the 19 generators power as to transmit to the power grid. The lake also allows authorities to feed nearby towns with fresh water.

Since each component isn't linked by a fenced perimeter, a relation is used to make this power plant alive in OSM.

relation 1652352
Génissiat Dam, France way Genissiat dam is a run-of-the-river power plant relying on a big concrete structure to get a 23km long lake on the Rhone river. It is hosting 6 power generators inside the dam connected to penstocks and outlets ducts. The waterway corresponding to river is diverted in dedicated ways corresponding to penstocks intakes. Have a look to the map to get more information

As many major generator and plants in Europe, Genissiat EIC code is given with ref:EU:ENTSOE_EIC=*

way 80667335
Roselend_Dam, France way Here is a wide electricity production site built in French Alps. Water is stored in a huge lake and goes through 60 km long tunnels ending into the La Bathie underground power plant.

The choice is made to bring all the stuff inside a unique relation instead of the single power plant cavern. The six francis tubrines are currently under maintenance to step up their output to 100 MW of electricity each. Power is sent to the power grid by the way Albertville power substation.

relation 4500049


Power plant Tagging Description OSM ref
Gravelines Nuclear power plant, France way Gravelines is the most powerful nuclear electricity generation site in France. 6 units can be found there, with 910 MW output each.

Nuclear reactors are splitted in two map features with power=generator on the way building hosting the steam turbine. The dome hosting the most radioactive parts and the fission reaction can be described as a steam generator, only as a bonus since it's not the place which actually produce electricity, relatively to generator:plant=* The surrounding way carefully follow the fence all around the power plant. As many major generator and plants in Europe, Gravelines EIC code is given with ref:EU:ENTSOE_EIC=*

way 85203514

See also