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Pumped storage hydro working as a hedge against low hydropower head caused by drought in regions with high presence of renewable intermitent generation

Grant number: 17/06553-2
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): May 08, 2017
Effective date (End): June 12, 2017
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Civil Engineering - Hydraulic Engineering
Principal researcher:Jose Geraldo Pena de Andrade
Grantee:Jose Geraldo Pena de Andrade
Host: Upmanu Lall
Home Institution: Faculdade de Tecnologia (FT). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Limeira , SP, Brazil
Research place: Columbia University in the City of New York, United States  


Conventional hydroelectric power plants are exposed to droughts periods that impact the power generation peaking capacity as well as the total generation output during the drought duration. The decreasing total generation can impact the revenues of the power plants under occurrence of droughts and also can increase the regional or national power system costs since it requires more expensive sources of power to compensate for lower than expected hydropower generation. In regions where the renewable intermittent generation is growing or has already been achieved a high presence, hydroelectric plants has a key role due to ability to increase or decrease power output to/from maximum plant capacity within few minutes. Although, during droughts the low heads of the hydropower plant reservoirs can bring severe constraints to its ability to provide flexible peaking generation. It is still more complex when dealing with multipurpose reservoirs when operators have to prioritize water supply or other more relevant water uses. In this context, the Pumped Storage Hydro (PSH) Plants can represent an efficient tool to provide fast peaking capacity. Two key properties of PSH can be helpful for power systems with conventional hydro and intermittent generation during droughts: a) PSH plants are not dependent on hydraulic head, since the major fraction of the head is not a function of the reservoir water storage; b) for closed loop PSH plants, the upper and lower reservoirs are usually small enough in such a way they are not exposed to drought risks. Therefore, a power system with conventional hydro power plants and intermittent generation (HIRG power system) can have benefits derived from PSH plants. This research aims to evaluate how to design a proper PSH in order to maximize its peaking and flexible generation benefits during droughts for a HIRG power system. It is assumed that the balance sheet of energy is met during the entire drought period, counting with other energy sources or imports from other regions. (AU)

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