Memorias de investigación
Communications at congresses:
Energy and operational benefits of adjustable-speed hydro power plants: Application to an irrigation reservoir

Research Areas
  • Electric engineering,
  • Water supply

Interest in sustainable energy systems is continuously increasing nowadays as it is reflected in the 6th EU Framework Program for Research and Technological Development, one of which thematic areas focuses on energy saving and efficiency. Hydropower is considered to be the most cost effective renewable energy resource, currently providing over 80% of all renewable energy. Although it is a competitive and mature technology, with more than a century of experience, there still exists a large technically feasible hydropower potential to be developed, widely spread all over the world. Conventional hydro generating units operate at fixed speed so as to provide energy to the fixed-frequency electric grid. In such cases, head and discharge deviations involve important decreases in efficiency. Adjustable speed operation allows the turbine speed to change in accordance with hydraulic conditions so that the efficiency is maximized. Electronic frequency converters cost has dropped significantly in the last few years, so the additional investment necessary for such devices is likely to be offset with the performance improvements gained by operating at variable speed. Besides the inherent energy efficiency improvements, some operational benefits can be obtained by means of an adjustable speed operation. On one hand, adjustable speed operation leads, in hydro plants with certain regulating capacity, to a compromise solution: either to generate more energy with the same amount of water, or to generate the same amount of energy with a reduced flooded area, thus giving rise to environmental benefits. On the other hand, increased efficiency operation tends to extend equipments life and to reduce long term maintenance requirements. Annual simulations have been carried out in a practical case study, in order to evaluate adjustable speed operation in different scenarios, given by different weekly inflows and different initial reservoir volumes.
International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), 75th ANNUAL MEETING
San Petersburgo (Rusia)
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Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Hidroinformática y Gestión del Agua
  • Departamento: Ingeniería Civil: Hidráulica y Energética