Decision Support

by R. B. Allen, Water Resources Specialist; Acres International Limited, 5259 Dorchester Road, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada L2E 6W1,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 7, Pg. 53-55

Document Type: Feature article


A number of factors have combined to make a computer-based decision support system (DSS) for power system operations attractive to Great Lakes Power Limited (GLP), a private utility that generates, transmits and distributes power in the Algoma district of northern Ontario, Canada. Development is being undertaken in four phases. Phase I: introduction of operational procedures and the development of the database system. Implemented in November 1993, phase I has performed extremely well by building a detailed library of hourly operational data in the database and providing flood-management guidance through two difficult spring freshet runoff seasons. Phase II: introduction of a long-term planning model and linking of the database to the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. Completed in January 1995, phase II has provided a clear understanding of the long-term economic trade-offs between current and future water- management decisions and has been a great asset for annual corporate planning. Phase III: the development of a short-term operations model. Scheduled to be completed in mid-1996, phase III will provide the detailed hourly guidance of a power generation schedule that will meet long-term operation goals and define short-term operation goals until operations exist that obtain optimal unit efficiency within all operating constraints. Phase IV: introduction of several model enhancements, mostly related to updated hydrology forecasts, revised unit efficiencies and extended MIS reporting, including graphical displays. This phase is presently being reviewed and a logical development/enhancement work plan is being developed.

Subject Headings: Power transmission | Databases | Decision support systems | Energy infrastructure | Data collection | Scheduling | Lakes | Public buildings | Canada | Great Lakes | Ontario

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