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Optimisation of hydropower plants and water systems

Grafik Monitor Wasserkraft

Hydropower is one of the most flexible renewable energies. Hydropower plants are ideally suited to cover base loads, store energy, and respond to peak electricity demands.

Hydropower can also be used economically - by marketing the electricity produced via long-term contracts, on the spot market or on the control reserve market. In doing so, plant operators are obliged to comply with environmental protection and water management regulations.

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Optimal practical suggestions

Finding the optimal mode of operation for a hydropower system with e.g. dams, run-of-river or pumped storage plants, turbines, reservoirs, seawater desalination plants, water treatment plants, canals and pipelines is a highly complex task due to the large number of boundary conditions.

Optimisation systems such as BelVis ResOpt help to solve this problem.

The software calculates - based on a very detailed image/model of the hydropower system – suggestions for optimal operation, in which conventional or other renewable generators can also be involved.

BelVis ResOpt provides consistent optimisation results for all time horizons (long-term, medium-term, day-ahead, intraday/online) and considers all boundary conditions (congestion and inflow quantities, plant availabilities and parameters, supply load curves, spot market and standard service contracts, storage effects, transit times, legal requirements, etc.). The result is, among other things, complete operating plans for the optimal use of all plants. The practical solutions can be executed fully automatically via our BelVis Workflow application.

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Your optimisation options

BelVis ResOpt finds the best among the many deployment options of your plants and transforms the complexity of your hydropower system into clear statements and simple efficiency.

Stochastic optimisation

A special feature of BelVis ResOpt – besides classical, deterministic optimisation approaches - is the ability to optimise stochastically. While deterministic approaches ultimately provide a single optimal solution, the stochastic approach can deliver many valid solutions, considering the probability of occurrence of each individual solution. This is a frequently used approach, especially in the field of optimisation of complex water systems, to consider the manifold interactions within the system. BelVis ResOpt can do both approaches - based on the same model.

Let us convince you of the benefits of BelVis ResOpt optimisation for your hydropower system in advance in a study on feasibility and financial savings potential.

BelVis ResOpt: Functional and user-friendly

The model of a hydropower system including all generators, pumps, reservoirs, inflows, contracts and restrictions is conveniently built in BelVis ResOpt using the fully graphical user interface and standard components from the BelVis ResOpt toolbox. Alternatives can be derived from the base model in order to calculate and compare different time horizons with different water forecasts. In addition, BelVis ResOpt provides functions and tools for load forecasting, recalculation and analysis, billing preparation, trade optimisation and much more. Control systems for dam heights, inflow volumes, etc. can be connected via interfaces.


Project example

Optimisation of pumped storage power plants

One of the largest electricity and energy suppliers in the Alpine region operates five pumped storage power plants in combination with thermal power plants. Cascaded storage reservoirs with turbine sets and pumping stations are used to generate electricity. In addition to mere turbining or pumping, these plants provide positive and negative reserve power. The optimised management of the storage reservoirs, taking into account electricity market prices and the positive and negative reserve power to be kept available, is the goal of optimising this hydropower chain with BelVis ResOpt while complying with gauge restrictions and regulations for the total discharge of individual reservoirs for tourism and ecological reasons.

BelVis ResOpt takes over inflow forecasts, gauge restrictions and other boundary conditions from upstream systems. Based on this, the software optimises the operation of the plants for the next day with a horizon of one week to allow sufficient lead time for reservoir management. The optimal schedules are stored in the databases of downstream systems.

To optimise this hydropower system, the KISTERS solutions Power Plant Optimisation (BelVis ResOpt) and Energy Data and Time Series Management (BelVis EDM) with the interfaces to the Intraday Market (EPEX and EXAA) are used.

Special features of the optimisation

BelVis ResOpt employs a very realistic model of the hydrothermal power plant system, in which the hydro part consists of a multi-stage cascade of storage basins, turbines and pumps. The solution considers many details of the system, e.g.

  • Efficiency curves of the turbine sets and the pumping stations depending on the water level
  • Water storage limits and storage level targets for storage management.
  • Release quantities, e.g. as a daily band within certain limits

The business processes are automated and interconnected via BelVis Workflow application (day-ahead and medium-term planning). Up to eleven parallel processes are working, some of which are executed every quarter of an hour.

The optimisation with BelVis ResOpt considers the water-technical boundary conditions and maximises the revenue by determining optimal trading proposals with maximum conservation of resources.


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