Impacts of Hydropower Operation on Water Supply from Lower Colorado River in Texas

by Quentin W. Martin, Lower Colorado River Authority, Austin, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Management in the '90s: A Time for Innovation


The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) of Texas is both a water and energy supplier to a large area of Central Texas. LCRA generates approximately 10 percent of its power from hydroelectric power plants on the six dams in the Highland Lakes system of reservoirs. To improve power production, LCRA has investigated alternative operating procedures to increase the winter scheduling of hydroelectric power generation in the upper reservoirs of the Highland Lakes system without adversely impacting available water supplies. A methodology using both optimization and simulation techniques was developed to evaluate the ability of the hydroelectric facilities to meet weather-related winter peaking requirements. A linear programming procedure determined the hourly power generation schedule, over a 24 hour period, that maximized the total amount of power generated over the six hours of peak power demand. The full installed capacity was found to be available during the peak hours without violating system operating constraints including water storage limits at the individual lakes. Based on statistical simulation of daily winter inflows and releases using a LOTUS 1-2-3 spreadsheet, it was found that the full generating capacity could be supplied to meet the weather-related peak winter power demand with no significant impact on water availability.

Subject Headings: Winter | Lakes | Hydro power | Water supply | Rivers and streams | Power plants | Water resources | Power supply | Colorado River | Texas | United States

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