IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - 71

There is a broad consensus that hydropower generation
can play a key role in balancing the system and hence
providing flexibility in the near future.
after the commissioning of the Sector Interconectado del
Norte Grande (SING)-Sistema Interconectado Central (SIC)
interconnector, the Chilean power system will be particularly
long, covering more than 3,200 km geographically from Arica
to Chiloé (shown in Figure 1), consequently increasing the
risk of system instability. Of increasing importance, therefore, is the allocation of generation reserves across the network to ensure their deliverability (and not cause postcontingency, real-time congestion) and the stability of the system.
Flexibility, however, is a pressing need in managing not
only the future power system but also that of the present.
Currently, for instance, the amount of wind and solar power
curtailment in the SIC is about 400 GWh/year, which represents 5% of the total energy produced by wind and solar
power plants (equivalent to decommissioning a solar power
plant with approximately 150 MW of installed capacity),
which clearly demonstrates the present need for more flexibility in both operation and infrastructure.
There is a broad consensus that hydropower generation
can play a key role in balancing the system and hence providing flexibility in the near future. However, there are a
number of concerns at the technical level:
✔✔ The Chilean network will be (after the commissioning of the SIC-SING interconnector) particularly long
and prone to congestion and stability problems.
✔✔ Existing and new hydropower resources are located
in the south of the country; consequently, solar power
generation (which is envisioned to be significantly developed in the near future) in the north will require
balancing services (see Figure 1).
✔✔ The more limited ability of hydropower plants to deliver primary frequency control services which may
be a problem under conditions where there is no contribution from thermal generation and decreased system
inertia (i.e., conditions with combined high renewables
outputs and low demand levels).
Further concerns include social opposition to hydropower
projects; environmental impacts; lack of a clear land-use
planning framework; excessively long design, construction,
and delivery time scales; and potentially constrained operation due to, for example, irrigation (and other uses of water
reservoirs) and hydro-peaking limits.
All these concerns create opportunities to cooptimize the
development and use of hydropower plants with those from
further storage technologies that, although more costly, can
provide similar services (including flexibility) without posing some of these techno-environmental constraints. In this
september/october 2017	

vein, battery storage systems are particularly interesting for
several reasons:
✔✔ They can be located across the network in a distributed fashion (and across all voltage levels), minimizing
-renewables curtailment, facilitating congestion management, and providing an array of frequency control services (including very fast primary frequency
-response in contrast to hydropower plants).
✔✔ They do not present significant constraints in investment and operational decisions, as hydropower
plants do.
✔✔ Investments can be rapidly deployed and delivered.
Thus, there is a significant opportunity to optimize the portfolio of storage technologies-in particular, between hydropower and battery storage plants-to deal cost--effectively and
reliably with intermittent and uncertain renewable generation,
network-related/stability problems and associated constraints
on investment and operation related to societal and environmental concerns, and the multipurpose nature of hydropower
reservoirs. Moreover, the long-term uncertainties inherent in
investment decisions may be more efficiently managed through
technologies that can be deployed rapidly and, therefore, provide more complete information about the actual realization of
future conditions. Rapid deployment is an attractive feature of
battery storage plants, with clear benefits for solving problems
related to network congestion and renewables curtailments that
must be addressed promptly.

Adapting the Present Hydropower
Generation Infrastructure
In a country like Chile, increasing the installed capacity of
hydropower generation will clearly contribute both to more
low-carbon energy production and also to increased flexibility from hydropower resources, which facilitates the integration of intermittent renewable generation. As mentioned
previously, however, hydropower plants present a number of
techno-environmental constraints that impede their efficient
development and operation.
One strategy to mitigate some of these constraints is to
build run-of-the-river (rather than reservoir-based) power
plants because they are more acceptable from an environmental point of view and can be built on a smaller scale.
Interestingly, run-of-the-river power plants can be designed
with a small reservoir capacity to still provide some intrahour and intraday balancing services needed for renewable generation such as wind and solar power. Although
reservoir-based hydropower plants can provide significant
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - Cover2
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - 1
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - Cover3
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - Cover4
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