The Energy Authority Optimizes Water Routing and Hydroelectric Generation on the Columbia River

Zengjian Hu; Putz, John; Sutjandra, Yohan; Chan, Abel; Mount, Edmond; Baker, Kristen
January 2015
Interfaces;Jan/Feb2015, Vol. 45 Issue 1, p43
Academic Journal
We describe a software application that enables owners of generation output from a virtualized Federal Columbia River Power System to safely operate the system, while also shaping the generation to meet their energy and economic needs. The application, the Optimizer, employs modern operations research techniques to convert a highly nonlinear problem into a linear one to create a robust solution for the six-dam system on an hourly basis, over a 10-day time horizon, and within a few minutes. The Optimizer helps to simultaneously manage and optimize the generation portfolios for 13 utilities in a stringent time frame around the clock, and enables hydroelectric (i.e., hydro) planners to ensure that the operation of the river meets all the requirements for flood control, fish management, electrical reliability, safe dam operations, and recreation under high degrees of uncertainty. The Optimizer allows utilities to integrate renewable, environmentally friendly wind and solar generation into their resource portfolio with hydro generation, and empowers these utilities to rapidly make decisions and adapt to changing conditions. We estimate that this project will reap benefits of $765-$952 million between 2011 and 2028.


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