Evaluating Alternative Operating Strategies for a Hydropower System
This model simulated the Great Falls Hydropower Plant Project, a series of five hydroelectric dams near Great Falls, Montana. The model, developed by Neptune and Company, incorporated many features present in customized hydroelectric power programs, such as tabulated functions of power, output as a function of turbine flow, and reservoir volume as a function of pool elevation. The model supported an Environmental Impact Statement submitted as part of a license application for a change in operations at the dams.
The application included typical operational constraints of hydropower dams, such as the need for a constant pool (water surface) elevation in some reservoirs, the mandatory satisfaction of minimum downstream flow demands (for fish populations), and the desire to provide extra electrical power at peak times of the day. The model allowed the user to experiment with a few operating strategies and evaluate the results in terms of power generation, downstream flows, and pool elevations.
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