Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Report:  U.S. Hydro Can Quintuple Its Value with Proper Market Structure

Chief Joseph Dam in Washington state is the second-largest hydropower producing dam in the United States. (Credit: Brad Skiff) Click to Enlarge.
Opportunity exists in the U.S. to increase the market value of hydro storage plants by 200% to 500%, according to a recent study by The Brattle Group.

Maximizing the Market Value of Flexible Hydro Generation says that with resource flexibility becoming more important on the grid, pumped, reservoir, and pondage hydro plants can offer a significant value as the major provider of system flexibility.

With the resource mix changing rapidly from 2010 to 2020, thanks to both retirements and additional generation, flexible resources are needed to operate with, in particular, an increasing share of variable generation.

The report points to one important complement:  batteries and flexible hydro.  Flexible hydro plants can be used, through daily and seasonal storage, to meet peak loads and to help integrate large baseload plants (nuclear, coal and run-of-river hydro).  In addition battery storage is gaining momentum, with 50 GW of battery storage potential at a cost of $350 per kWh installed, Brattle says.  “Together with battery deployment, increasing the operational flexibility of hydro resources will be a low-hanging fruit to help address growing flexibility needs in some regions,” the report says.

Read more at Report:  U.S. Hydro Can Quintuple Its Value with Proper Market Structure

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