This Technical Update provides a summary of progress for the first year of a two-year collaborative research project to determine the value of hydropower to the electric transmission grid. This project utilizes, enhances, and expands tools to apply and value hydropower assets in the changing electric grid. The project employs several industry analyses and modeling tools at the unit level, the plant level, the system level, and the regional/national level, for quantifying and maximizing the benefits provided by conventional and pumped storage hydroelectric projects to transmission grids. The electric sector components of generation, power delivery, and environment are included. Consistent cost data from the broad range of hydropower expansion options are to be developed for use in modeling capacity expansion and markets to enable appropriate decision making in future generation planning.
A methodology is developed to facilitate improved valuation and resource planning for pumped storage and conventional hydropower projects. The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) is modeled, including capacity, load and resource balance, transmission, renewable portfolios, unit cycling, commodity prices, emissions, and ancillary services. Results of this project include: (1) analysis results from a validated, large scale power and market systems model; (2) a series of scenarios analyses using multiple tools to understand and quantify the benefits of the projects to the transmission system, including the integration of other renewables; (3) a data base of current and projected cost elements for alternative pumped storage and conventional hydropower development options.