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Hydroelectric asset management software

Project already available
Hydroelectric stochastic optimization software to aid optimum operational decision-making on a medium-term basis.

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Market benefits

  • Modeling of hydropower assets
  • Stochastic environment
  • Multi-year time scale
  • Effects of water head height on turbine output

Issue

As hydroelectricity is one of the few energy sources that can be stored, it is crucial that utilities are able to manage their portfolios safely, efficiently, and profitably. To do so, utilities must choose between generating hydropower and storing water for future energy demands in uncertain circumstances.

Several types of criteria can be considered when choosing between supplying energy and storing water:
- Financial: Based on predicted electricity market prices
- Technical: Physical capacity of power stations (storage capacity, turbine capacity, water head height, etc.)
- Operational: If maintenance or replacement work needs to be carried out
- Environmental and legal: E.g. ensuring sufficient flow in the river bed or ensuring water levels are high enough to allow for tourism in summer

In addition to these criteria, decisions must also be based on the physical condition and limits of reservoirs, and the topology and flow constraints of the valley.

Solution

We have developed new software for the stochastic optimization of hydroelectricity production. It allows users to extensively model their hydroelectric assets and their physical and operational constraints. It enables users to consider water head height and its potential effect on the power output of turbines. It should be noted that models based on Stochastic Dual Dynamic Programming cannot take water head height into account due to mathematical constraints.

Our solution allows stochastic data to be used, and enables users to input hydraulic runoff data (historical or model-based forecasts) and electricity price forecasts (or marginal costs of the utility assets portfolio).

The modelling and computing capabilities of the software allow any utility or hydropower plant operator to make optimal operational decisions on a multi-year timescale:
- For a given valley, compute optimal management strategies for one or two of the main reservoirs and find the best tradeoff between storing or supplying hydropower
- Simulate this optimal strategy to observe changes in the level of the reservoirs, changes in plant output, and assess financial assets
- Choose the best time to carry out maintenance works on a hydropower station
- Simulate and find the optimal profitability (ROI) of a new or modified hydropower station