IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2017 - 72

Value of Transformation
(Million US$/yr)

30
25
20
15
10
5
0

5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
Solar Power Generation Capacity (%)
(a)

Value of Transformation
(Million US$/yr)

30
25
20
15
10
5
0

5

10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
Wind Power Generation Capacity (%)
(b)

figure 2. The value (i.e., additional gross revenue per
year) of a transformation from series hydropower generation to a pumped storage plant, as a function of the (a)
solar and (b) wind generation capacity as a percentage
of total g- eneration installed capacity in the national
power system.

flexibility to system operation in different time scales, runof-the-river hydropower plants can still provide a valuable
part of it. Furthermore, our analysis demonstrates that it is
possible to capitalize on increasing the reservoir capacity of
currently installed run-of-the-river power plants. In Chile,
for example, doing so can reduce the nonnetwork curtailment of renewable generation (i.e., the curtailment caused by
constraints other than network congestion) by 95%, if each
run-of-the-river hydropower plant is equipped with a reservoir having an energy capacity equal to 3 h (i.e., the capacity
to store enough energy to produce for 3 h at maximum power
output without inflows).
Likewise, currently installed reservoir hydropower plants
can be transformed into pumped storage plants that enhance
both flexibility services to the electricity market (e.g., using
pump-mode operation to withdraw energy from the market
when an excess of renewable power outputs drives prices
down) and coordination of multipurpose reservoir applications
72	

ieee power & energy magazine	

(e.g., more efficiently coordinating the electricity and agriculture sectors through decoupling water streams from generation and those associated with irrigation).
In this context, we studied the case of installing a 100-MW
pump system between the Colbun and Machicura reservoirs
(see the location in Figure 1), which are currently operated
as conventional, reservoir hydropower plants in series (with
Colbun located upstream of Machicura), and thus allow more
flexibility in meeting irrigation requirements and maximizing revenues due to the provision of more efficient intraday
balancing services (i.e., buying energy at low-price hours and
selling energy at high-price hours in the spot market). Interestingly, we found that the higher the penetration of solar
power generation, the higher the benefits of the transformation
(which is not the case for increased wind power generation,
as shown in Figure 2). This is so because an increase in solar
power generation capacity leads to a drop in the energy price
mainly when a storage plant charges/buys and not when it discharges/sells. In the case of an increase in wind power generation capacity in Chile, the consequent drop in energy prices is
more distributed across the day. We also found that the irrigation requirements represent approximately 30% of the value
of the transformation (i.e., without the irrigation requirements,
the value of the transformation will be 30% lower).

Sectors Coordination to Facilitate Delivery of
Flexibility from Hydropower Generation
In operational time scales, hydro reservoirs provide services
to various sectors such as electricity, irrigation, recreation,
and flood control: currently of concern is the cost-efficiency
of the present coordination among these multiple applications.
For instance, the regulatory framework that coordinates irrigation and electricity production has not changed since the
1960s and so does not reflect the real value of water in today's
economy, especially in the light of renewables and the new
services flexibility needed from hydropower plants. Similarly,
new environmental constraints that protect local ecosystems
from hydro-peaking consequences limit the system's ability
to integrate renewable generation, an issue that could lead to
an increase in renewable generation curtailment. Although
environmental policies are necessary, interactions between
such policies and those associated with renewables integration have to be carefully analyzed and finely tuned because,
due to the coupling between hydro-peaking and flexibility for
renewables, there is a clear conflict between mitigating local
and global environmental impacts (see Figure 3).
In planning time scales, there is a growing need for a clearer
regulatory framework related to land-use planning to enable
projects that are both attractive for the economy (and, in
particular, for the electricity sector) and also cause limited,
acceptable impacts on the local environment. Here, a major
concern arises from the new transmission lines needed to connect the new plants to the main transmission system because
they could result in more severe impacts than the generation
project itself.
september/october 2017



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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