PCI Introduces Enhanced Hydro Modeling Features in its Industry Standard GenTrader® Optimization System

PCI GenTrader’s enhanced hydro model incorporates a tremendous amount of detail and flexibility to solve more complex problems than ever before.

March 25, 2014 – Norman, OK – PCI has updated its optimization algorithms to include sophisticated hydro network modeling, extending the capabilities of its already powerful portfolio optimization solution. Optimizing thermal generation, hydro generation and/or pumping resources, reservoirs, and fuel constraints, ancillary services simultaneously is a highly complex process. Adding cascading hydro network, elevation and head-dependent efficiency parameters to the problem is even more challenging. The latest version of PCI GenTrader is deploying the most advanced algorithms to solve these challenges and is taking hydro-thermal and network optimization to the next level. Four key model elements distinguish PCI GenTrader’s enhanced hydro network model:

Complex Topology – Users may define a complex hydrological network with reservoirs and ponds and then connect them through waterways. Multiple hydro-electric generators can be fed by reservoirs via penstocks. Pumps can be configured to move water between two reservoirs. Each water path can be constrained with minimum and maximum flow rates expressed in cubic feet per second (cfs). Local inflows (e.g., rainfall) and outflows (leakage and evaporation) can be specified as well. Water level, flow rates, and even spillways can be controlled to achieve desired water management objectives.

Water Measurement
Reservoir elevation is expressed in feet, storage in acre-feet and flows in cubic feet per second. During the optimization process, PCI GenTrader performs the necessary internal conversions as described in the next section.

Non-linear Conversions
A key to incorporating detailed hydro characteristics in any optimization is the inclusion of non-linear conversion curves that define the relationship of water to electrical energy. GenTrader uses such curves for:

  • Reservoir Storage (acre-feet vs. feet)
  • Tailrace Elevation (cfs vs. feet)
  • Generation Efficiency as a function of head (MW vs. cfs vs. feet)
  • Pumping Efficiency as a function of head (MW vs. cfs vs. feet)

Tailrace Representation
In order to accurately capture the efficiency effects of varying head levels, GenTrader explicitly calculates upper reservoir level and tailrace level. Since tailrace elevation can vary significantly with discharge rate, GenTrader includes this calculation to obtain a precise head level.

In short, the PCI GenTrader enhanced hydro model incorporates a tremendous amount of detail and flexibility. By merging these features into the already robust optimization model, PCI GenTrader further extends its capability to solve complex generation portfolio problems and create significant value for customers.

To learn more, visit the PCI GenTrader product page.

About Power Costs, Inc. (PCI)
PCI is the leading provider of generation supply management and optimization software to energy focused companies. Founded in 1992 by Dr. Fred Lee, PCI continues to develop power industry software solutions, superior customer support and value-added services for top-tier energy customers. More than half of all power generation in the United States is managed using PCI software solutions. PCI is a privately held company based in Norman, Oklahoma with offices in Houston, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina. To learn more about PCI, please visit www.powercosts.com.

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