This page grew out of the Hydro Modelling Breakout Group at the 3rd openmod workshop in London, 2015.
Hydroelectricity is still the dominant source of renewable electricity in many countries (around 17% share of European electricity, if you include Norway and Switzerland).
Technically it can be very flexible and smooth out variable production of wind and solar, so for future scenarios with high RES, it’s important to get right.
For market models hydro dispatch strategy can have a big influence on market prices (e.g. in the Alps and Scandinavia), which is hard to capture.
There are different types of hydroelectric plants:
- Run-of-river plants with little storage
- Storage dams with inflow
- Pumped storage
- Mixed variants (e.g. storage dams with inflow and pumping)
Hydroelectricity modelling is complicated by several factors:
- Although it has low marginal cost, the storage allows dispatch to be time-shifted, which makes optimal dispatch strategies complicated
- Plants on rivers can be chained, so that the inflow depends on the output of power plants upstream
- Hydro inflow varies year-by-year (e.g. there are dry and wet years in Scandinavia)
- Modelling inflow from weather data is non-trivial: need to model precipitation, runoff, evaporation, snow melt, etc.
- Water in reservoirs is tapped for other purposes, e.g. irrigation.
- There are other constraints, such as maintaining navigability on rivers, fish ladders, water levels for recreation, water cooling for thermal power plants, etc.
In a linear programming setup, hydroelectric dams can be modelled as storage units with state of charge limits, set inflow, controllable spillage and optional pumping.
The chaining of run-of-river plants, multiple turbines fed from the same reservoir, can all be modelled too.
More detail can be found in books such as
A. J. Wood, B. F. Wollenberg, and G. B. Sheblé, "Power Generation, Operation and Control," New York: John Wiley & Sons, Third Edition, 2014.
- Who: Eurac Research, Bolzano
- What: Takes discharge raster map of river and computes hydropower potential considering different limits (e.g. theoretical, recommended, legal, technical, ecological and economic constraints)
- Who: James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen
- What: Estimates the potential impacts of climate change on Scotland's run-of-river hydropower potential
- Who: OSeMOSYS community
- What: in energy modelling it takes into account hydro power plants, hydro storage and cascade
- Missing: modelling of floods; Evapo-transpiration losses in dams
WEAPWater Evaluation and Planning
- Who: Stockholm Environment Institute
- What: Tool for water ressource planning
- Who: Swedish Metereological and Hydrological Institute
- What: Water ressource modeling
- Water losses by evaporation
- Who: ETH Zurich
- What: High resolution, distributed, physically-based hydrological model (purpose: find optimized policies for reservoirs management)
Hydroelectric power plant static data
Desired data for power plants
- Plant type (run of river, pumped storage, storage dam)
- Dispatch capacity (MW)
- Pumping capacity (if present) (MW)
- Storage capacity (litres or MWh)
- (head) Height of reservoir (m)
- Type of inflow
- Inflow time series
- Legal restrictions on flow levels (maintaining enough water for nature)
- minimal reservoir level
- (black start reserves - capacity reserves)
- Pumped storage efficiency
- Chaining run-of-river
- Some reservoirs have several outlets
Wikipedia list of hydro stations > 1000 MW
List of conventional hydroelectric power stations
List of largest hydroelectric power stations
Wikipedia list of pumped hydro stations > 1000 MW
Wikipedia List of pumped storage hydro stations (greater than 1000 MW)
ENTSO-E per country capacities
https://www.entsoe.eu/db-query/miscellaneous/net-generating-capacity has hydro capacities for each country for each year. For some years (e.g. 2010) they are also split by 'storage', 'run of river' and 'pumped storage'.
2013 Yearly Statistics and Adequacy Retrospect: Capacities are split per country per month of 2013 for Hydro renewable/non-renewable. Non-renewable here means pumped storage.
The ENTSO-E Transparency Platform has data but crashes all the time.
Renpass for Norway and Germany
SQL database of hydroelectric power plants (storage and run of river) in Norway and Germany. See the manual for explanations how data is ordered.
Swiss Federal Office of Energy: Yearly Hydropower statistic for Switzerland:
Geographic information on Hydropower in Switzerland:
Swiss Federal Office of Environment Runoff data for Switzerland:
Wikipedia per-country European capacities
Switzerland (not complete)
Assessments of existing and potential future pumped hydro power and energy in Europe
Hydroelectric inflow time series data
Deriving inflow time series from weather data
Inflow time series and other hydrological data can in principle be derived if precipitation, run-off, temperature for snow melt, transpiration, ground absorption, lakes, reservoirs, ground height and ground slope, and other water uses (irrigation/livestock/households/manufacturing/thermal power stations) are all known.
Drainage basins can be calculated to see where the runoff water goes.
Reanalysis datasets such as the CFSR contain data on runoff, precipitable water, precipitation rate.
See a comparison of hydrological models from 2011.
Global Runoff Data Centre
The Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC) has measured daily average discharge data for 7362 measurement stations worldwide.
Used in Yvonne Scholz PhD thesis, 2012.
WaterGAP (Water Global Assessment and Prognosis) is a global fresh water resource model, which models both hydrology and the usage of water in five sectors (irrigation, livestock, households, manufacturing and cooling of thermal power plants).
All computations are done with a temporal resolution of 1 day and a spatial resolution of 0.5° geographical latitude × 0.5° geographical longitude, which is equivalent to 55 km × 55 km at the equator.
Currently the years 1901 to 2010 are covered; more recent years will be updated soon (as of 2016).
River discharge is available for run-of-river power plants and inflow to storage reservoirs.
The model has been developed by University of Kassel (Germany) since 1996, and since 2003 also at the University of Frankfurt (Germany).
The model output is calibrated and validated against long term annual river discharge from the GRDC Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC), among other sources.
The most recent paper describing the model (esp. in the appendix) is Müller Schmied, H., Eisner, S., Franz, D., Wattenbach, M., Portmann, F. T., Flörke, M., and Döll, P.: "Sensitivity of simulated global-scale freshwater fluxes and storages to input data, hydrological model structure, human water use and calibration," Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 3511-3538, doi:10.5194/hess-18-3511-2014, 2014.
The source code is not free software, nor is it available for download.
Datasets are available on request to researchers.
Used in Gregor Czisch PhD thesis, 2006 and in The impact of global change on the hydropower potential of Europe: a model-based analysis, 2005.
List of datasets at Open Power Systems Data project
Inflow in Austria
Inflow in Bavaria, Germany
Inflow in Bavaria from the Bavarian Hydrological Service