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Title: Sustainable hydropower in Lower Mekong Countries: Technical assessment and training travel report

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through their partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), requested the support of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to provide specialized technical assistance as part of the Smart Infrastructure for the Mekong (SIM) Program in Thailand. Introduced in July 2013 by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, SIM is a U.S. Government Inter-Agency program that provides Lower Mekong partner countries with targeted, demand-driven technical and scientific assistance to support environmentally sound, climate conscious and socially equitable infrastructure, clean energy development, and water resources optimization. The U.S. Government is committed to supporting sustainable economic development within the region by providing tools, best practices, technical assistance, and lessons learned for the benefit of partner countries. In response to a request from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), a SIM project was developed with two main activities: 1) to promote hydropower sustainability and efficiency through technical assessment training at two existing hydropower assets in Thailand, and 2) the design and implementation of one national and two or three regional science and policy workshops, to be co-hosted with EGAT, to build common understanding of and commitment to environmental and social safeguards for Mekong Basinmore » hydropower projects. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is leading the technical assessment (Activity 1), and has contracted ORNL to provide expert technical assistance focused on increasing efficiency at existing projects, with the goal of increasing renewable energy generation at little to no capital cost. ORNL is the leading national laboratory in hydropower analysis, with a nationally recognized and highly qualified team of scientists addressing small to large-scale systems (basin-, regional-, and national-scale) energy generation optimization analysis for DOE. The mission of the ORNL Water Power Program is to develop technologies, decision-support tools, and methods of analysis that enable holistic management of water-dependent energy infrastructure and natural resources in support of the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office (DOE-EERE), Federal hydropower agencies, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), energy producers, and other entities. In support of SIM, ORNL completed technical assessments of two hydropower plants owned and operated by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT): Vajiralongkorn (VRK), with an installed capacity of 300 MW, and Rajjaprabha (RPB), with an installed capacity of 240MW. Technical assessment is defined as the assessment of hydropower operation and performance, and the identification of potential opportunities for performance improvement through plant optimization. At each plant, the assessment included an initial analysis of hydropower operating and performance metrics, provided by dam owners. After this analysis, ORNL engaged with the plant management team in a skills exchange, where best practices, operational methods, and technical challenges were discussed. The technical assessment process was outlined to plant management followed by a presentation of preliminary results and analysis based on 50 days of operational data. EGAT has agreed to provide a full year of operational data so a complete and detailed assessment that captures seasonal variability can be completed. The results of these assessments and discussions will be used to develop a set of best practices, training, and procedure recommendations to improve the efficiency of the two assessed plants« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
ORNL work for others
Country of Publication:
United States
hydropower; sustainable hydropower; hydropower optimization