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Title: Net revenue and downstream flow impact trade-offs for a network of small-scale hydropower facilities in California

Abstract

Deployment of small-scale hydropower, which generally ranges in capacity from 1-10 MW, may partly depend on its ability to mitigate environmental concerns while generating sufficient revenues. In this paper, we quantify net revenue and downstream flow impact trade-offs of a cascading series of 36 small-scale hydropower facilities under consideration for development in Northeast California. To do so, we develop a net-revenue-maximizing optimization model that determines hydropower operations while capturing key technical and river network constraints. We find that significantly constraining maximum discharges from each facility largely eliminates downstream flow impacts but negligibly changes the 36 facilities' combined operations and net revenues. Thus, we find a negligible trade-off between net revenues and downstream impacts in our study system, suggesting small-scale hydropower can contribute to decarbonization efforts while limiting local environmental impacts on downstream flows at little economic cost.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  2. Natel Energy, Alameda, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Water Power Technologies Office (EE-4WP)
OSTI Identifier:
1493372
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1503816
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5D00-72228
Journal ID: ISSN 2515-7620
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 1; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2515-7620
Publisher:
IOP Science
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
13 HYDRO ENERGY; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; small-scale hydropower; downstream flow impacts; price-taker optimization; net revenue maximization; hydropower

Citation Formats

Craig, Michael, Zhao, Jin, Schneider, Gia, Schneider, Abe, Watson, Sterling, and Stark, Greg. Net revenue and downstream flow impact trade-offs for a network of small-scale hydropower facilities in California. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1088/2515-7620/aafd62.
Craig, Michael, Zhao, Jin, Schneider, Gia, Schneider, Abe, Watson, Sterling, & Stark, Greg. Net revenue and downstream flow impact trade-offs for a network of small-scale hydropower facilities in California. United States. doi:10.1088/2515-7620/aafd62.
Craig, Michael, Zhao, Jin, Schneider, Gia, Schneider, Abe, Watson, Sterling, and Stark, Greg. Mon . "Net revenue and downstream flow impact trade-offs for a network of small-scale hydropower facilities in California". United States. doi:10.1088/2515-7620/aafd62.
@article{osti_1493372,
title = {Net revenue and downstream flow impact trade-offs for a network of small-scale hydropower facilities in California},
author = {Craig, Michael and Zhao, Jin and Schneider, Gia and Schneider, Abe and Watson, Sterling and Stark, Greg},
abstractNote = {Deployment of small-scale hydropower, which generally ranges in capacity from 1-10 MW, may partly depend on its ability to mitigate environmental concerns while generating sufficient revenues. In this paper, we quantify net revenue and downstream flow impact trade-offs of a cascading series of 36 small-scale hydropower facilities under consideration for development in Northeast California. To do so, we develop a net-revenue-maximizing optimization model that determines hydropower operations while capturing key technical and river network constraints. We find that significantly constraining maximum discharges from each facility largely eliminates downstream flow impacts but negligibly changes the 36 facilities' combined operations and net revenues. Thus, we find a negligible trade-off between net revenues and downstream impacts in our study system, suggesting small-scale hydropower can contribute to decarbonization efforts while limiting local environmental impacts on downstream flows at little economic cost.},
doi = {10.1088/2515-7620/aafd62},
journal = {Environmental Research Communications},
number = 1,
volume = 1,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1088/2515-7620/aafd62

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