A Computer Model for Multiplant Hydroelectric System Simulation

by S. O. Russell, Univ of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada,
D. A. Fayegh, Univ of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada,

Abstract: An interactive computer model of a multi-plant hydrothermal electric power generating system has been developed that roughly captures the main features of the British Columbia Hydro system. The objective of the model was to help familiarize its use with the problems associated with the monthly operation of multi-reservoir system when complete knowledge of future inflows, power demands, and market prices do not exist. To encourage the use of the model, it has been designed as a 'game' that is play on the computer by a hypothetical 'operator' for 24 months. At the beginning of each month, the operator is required to make decisions on how to allocate the total forecast system load, given the reservoir elevations, forecast in inflows, and energy prices the month. Once the operator enters his decisions at the beginning of the month, the system is simulated for that month had a number of graphs, bar charts, and tables are updated with the new values of the various variables, such as reservoir levels, operation costs, revenue, etc.. At the end of the simulation, the operator may repeatedly request the model to improve on her/his game score (net revenue) by running a deterministic differential dynamic programming procedure until an optimal decision sequence found. This study revealed that the players, who were not generally reservoir operation experts, initially found the model to be quite complex. However, with the aid of a appropriate graphical user interface and sound feedback, they consistently improve their scores and understanding of the complexities of the operation problem.

Subject Headings: Computer models | Hydrologic models | Hydro power | Reservoirs | Simulation models | Computer programming | Water resources | Electrical systems | Electric power | North America | British Columbia | Canada

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