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Connecting Hydropower to the Electric Grid

By Phill Feltham

Quantifying investments for plant upgrades and new pumped storage

BY LINDSEY ROGERS, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

In the early 1900s, hydro was the mainstay generation resource. Today, it has evolved to be a less prominent, but still highly valued, flexible form of renewable generation. As variable wind and solar power are utilized, hydro and grid flexibility, particularly pumped storage, are expected to play an important role. However, electric-system modeling and resource planning amid abundant thermal generation resources have not taken into account hydropower’s range of flexibility and ancillary services.

This feature in Electricity Today Magazine describes results of recent research to give utilities a better understanding of the potential flexibility value of hydropower in current and future market structures. The question addressed is, can these benefits be monetized to justify new hydropower investments in conventional plant upgrades and new pumped storage?

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