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Water 2017, 9(6), 367; doi:10.3390/w9060367

Modeling the Multi-Seasonal Link between the Hydrodynamics of a Reservoir and Its Hydropower Plant Operation

1
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Chile, Blanco Encalada 2002, Santiago 8370449, Chile
2
Energy Center, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Chile, Tupper 2007, Santiago 8370451, Chile
3
Department of Stochastic Simulation and Safety Research for Hydrosystems (IWS/SC SimTech), University of Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 5A, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Polya
Received: 9 January 2017 / Revised: 10 May 2017 / Accepted: 18 May 2017 / Published: 24 May 2017
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Abstract

The hydrodynamics of many hydropower reservoirs are controlled by the operation of their power plant, but the associated water quality impact is often poorly understood. In particular, significant hydropeaking operations by hydropower plants affect not only the downstream ecosystem but also the reservoir water temperature. This paper contributes to understanding that link. For this, we coupled a hydrodynamic model (Estuary, Lake and Coastal Ocean Model, ELCOM) to a grid-wide power system scheduling model. In a case study (Rapel, Chile), we observe the behavior of variables related to the flow regime and water quality (including sub-daily hydrologic alteration, seasonal and sub-daily thermal pollution of the downstream river, and vertical mixing in the reservoir). Additionally, we evaluate how environmental constraints (ECs) can improve the conditions for a wet, normal and dry water-type year. We found that the unconstrained operation produces a strong sub-daily hydrologic alteration as well as an intense thermal pollution of the outflow. We show that these effects can clearly be avoided when implementing ECs. The current (unconstrained) vertical mixing makes the reservoir susceptible to algae blooms. Implementing ECs may intensify the stratification in the reservoir near the dam in some scenarios. The grid-wide economic cost of Rapel’s ECs is a modest 0.3%. View Full-Text
Keywords: power system operations; hydrodynamics; thermal pollution; hydrologic alteration; water temperature; vertical mixing power system operations; hydrodynamics; thermal pollution; hydrologic alteration; water temperature; vertical mixing
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Carpentier, D.; Haas, J.; Olivares, M.; de la Fuente, A. Modeling the Multi-Seasonal Link between the Hydrodynamics of a Reservoir and Its Hydropower Plant Operation. Water 2017, 9, 367.

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