Determining Hydro Generation Start/Stop and Cycling Costs
How will Reclamation, along with the rest of the hydropower industry, identify start/stop and cycling costs and accelerated equipment failure costs associated with the integration of variable renewable energy to allow for budgetary compensation?
Need and Benefit
Hydroelectric generation is uniquely positioned to support the power system that contains a growing number of variable energy sources. Hydro is the only renewable source of electricity presently available that can support other renewable energy sources by providing the capacity and load balancing needs of the power system. The inherent flexibility of hydro is being utilized more aggressively at many hydro facilities to support the power system load balancing requirements. Hydro units are being started/stopped more often and are experiencing more generation cycling when providing these load balancing services. There is a legitimate concern that the increased operational demands of hydro units are impacting equipment life, operations costs, and maintenance costs. Evidence is mounting that the continued operation of units incurring high numbers of starts/stops and load cycles is increasing costs and accelerating equipment failures. However, no established industry method is currently available to help identify these costs and provide justification for budgetary compensation.
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