2014 Edelman Finalist The Energy Authority

Hydroelectric Generation and Water Routing Optimizer

We describe a software application that enables owners of generation output from a virtualized Federal Columbia River Power System to safely operate the system while also shaping the generation to meet their energy and economic needs. The application, known colloquially as The Optimizer, employs modern Operations Research techniques to convert a highly non-linear problem into a linear one so as to create a robust solution for the entire, six-dam system on an hourly basis; over a ten-day time horizon; within
seconds to minutes. The tool permits two operators to manage and optimize the entire generation portfolios for nine utilities simultaneously in a very stringent time frame around the clock, and enables planners to ensure that the operation of the river meets all of the requirements for flood control, fish management, electrical reliability, safe dam operation, and recreation under high degrees of uncertainty. As a result, the Optimizer allows utilities to integrate renewable, environmentally friendly wind and solar generation into their resource portfolio with hydro generation and empowers fast decision making and adaptation to rapidly changing conditions.