The bulk hydropower transmission via trans-provincial and trans-regional power networks in China provides great operational flexibility to dispatch power resources between multiple power grids. This is very beneficial to alleviate the tremendous peak load pressure of most provincial power grids. This study places the focus on peak operations of cascaded hydropower plants serving multiple provinces under a regional connected AC/DC network. The objective is to respond to peak loads of multiple provincial power grids simultaneously. A two-stage search method is developed for this problem. In the first stage, a load reconstruction strategy is proposed to combine multiple load curves of power grids into a total load curve. The purpose is to deal with different load features in load magnitudes, peaks and valleys. A mutative-scale optimization method is then used to determine the generation schedules of hydropower plants. In the second stage, an exterior point search method is established to allocate the generation among multiple receiving power grids. This method produces an initial solution using the load shedding algorithm, and further improves it by iteratively coordinating the generation among different power grids. The proposed method was implemented to the operations of cascaded hydropower plants on Xin-Fu River and another on Hongshui River. The optimization results in two cases satisfied the peak demands of receiving provincial power grids. Moreover, the maximum load difference between peak and valley decreased 12.67% and 11.32% in Shanghai Power Grid (SHPG) and Zhejiang Power Grid (ZJPG), exceeding by 4.85% and 6.72% those of the current operational method, respectively. The advantage of the proposed method in alleviating peak-shaving pressure is demonstrated.
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