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Value of flow forecast for power system analytics
  • +4
  • Nathalie Voisin,
  • Jordan Kern,
  • Thomas Mosier,
  • Konstantinos Oikonomou,
  • Sean Turner,
  • Andrew Wood,
  • Hongxiang Yan
Nathalie Voisin

Corresponding Author:nathalie.voisin@pnnl.gov

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Jordan Kern
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Thomas Mosier
Idaho National Laboratory
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Konstantinos Oikonomou
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
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Sean Turner
Singapore University of Technology and Design
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Andrew Wood
National Center for Atmospheric Research
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Hongxiang Yan
Portland State University
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Most hydropower utilities rely on flow forecasts to manage the water resources of their reservoir systems and to help marketers and schedulers make efficient use of power generating resources. Flow forecast providers and dam operators typically assess the value of flow forecasts by assessing the skill of the forecasts in a verification exercise. Although there are many flow forecasting approaches available—from physics-based approaches associated with statistical pre and post processors and data assimilation, to emerging machine-learning based approaches—there is little consensus on how to choose the best forecast product. Nor are there established methods for translating forecast skill—a summary statistic amalgamating multiple types of errors —to forecast value (benefits or avoided cost) as perceived by a marketer or scheduler. In this work we develop such an approach by combining a water resources management model with a power grid model. Flow forecasts are developed at 85 locations for a varying range of skills, from perfect, to persistent and in-between. Using reservoir and power grid simulations over the Western U.S., we propagate flow forecasts through the power grid model, mapping flow forecast skill to regional hydropower revenues, production costs and carbon emissions. We develop a deeper understanding of the influence of regional and seasonal differences in markets and hydrologic dynamics on forecast value. We discuss future research directions to integrate hydrologic forecasts into decision-making at the utility and wider system scale.