The global mix of power generation is set to radically change the world, enabling a clean, carbon-free future of electricity. However, new system services are needed to secure the energy supply due to the inherent unreliability of new renewable resources, such as wind and solar. A major opportunity lies in the fact that existing hydropower facilities have available capabilities that have not yet been exploited. In fact, its remarkable flexibility could allow higher penetration of renewables in the future power system, as long as the cost of its services could be appreciated enough to comply with the burden it takes.
The SysOpt project will develop a real-time control and optimization platform for the optimal operation of hydropower plants, improving profit, maximizing the available grid support services, and finally, allowing cost- and -efficiency sharing between the producer and the grid. The platform design intends to improve the control of existent control systems and coordinate the different hydropower plants online to reduce the overall power system grid losses. The anticipated outcome will impact the Norwegian electricity sector (i.e., producers, transmission, and distribution) and opens up for discovering new markets.
Several partners from the Norwegian power industry will engage in the project to ensure the highest possible impact for the end-users and enable data sharing to maximize the relevance of the case studies undertaken throughout the project. In fact, the project consortium consists of relevant actors along the entire value chain (i.e., grid and power companies, TSOs, and equipment suppliers). Together with USN and NTNU, important competencies are expected to be developed through this broad collaboration. In addition, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) from the US with support from the WPTO (U.S. Department of Energy?s Water Power Technologies Office), will also contribute to the project.
There is an expectation of increased electrification of the energy sector, and that more variable and less controllable wind and solar power will reinforce the need for more efficient system services, and strengthen the grid capacity and stability in vulnerable areas. In response to this call, this project intends to develop new knowledge and innovative methods within hydropower technology and voltage control to create opportunities in the following areas. a) Strengthening the national power system operational security of supply and power transfer while reducing investment costs and transmission losses; b) Optimize the interplay between the power producer and grid owner(s) (Transmission System Owner TSO, and the Distribution System Owner DSO) through enhanced coordinated actions.
In particular, the project proposes a control design solution to optimize the hydropower plant operation, and the exchange of reactive power between power system players (service providers and grid owners). Moreover, the design will improve the control of existent control system, and coordinate online the different hydropower plant contribution for enhanced system services.
One of the major goals of the project is to develop and test a prototype in real-life applications (made available by the partners) that will be of interest for the world market. The anticipated results of the project are new knowledge on how to design control systems for maximal grid support, optimal operation of the hydropower plant, cost-sharing, and energy efficiency in the operation of the power system. Further anticipated results are new guidelines for the industry, as well as increased national competence in monitoring and control in the power system fields. The project will pave the way in large-scale integration of the ever-increasing intermittent renewable sources, and improve the power transport efficiency (e.g., improve profit).