GE Instrumentation “Flexes” Hydropower

$4.3 million research project for flexible operation of hydro turbines

GE Research received a 30-month, $4.3 million project through the US Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office to improve both the operating capacity and flexibility of hydropower assets.

A multi-disciplinary team of engineers from GE Research will work with GE Renewable Energy’s Hydro business and two major hydro plant operators, Eagle Creek Renewable Power, and FirstLight Power. The goal is to outfit three plants with minimal sensors and other tools to enhance the existing operational flexibility by more effectively ramping electricity generation up or down with their hydro assets.

Arvind Tiwari, Principal Investigator on the project explained that a key objective of the demonstration is to show the increased flexibility and operating capacity of hydro plants with existing components, without compromising the life of plant equipment. The GE Research team believes that with more data and great visibility of plant behavior, they can introduce more variability in operations such as fast ramp ups of hydro units without compromising component lifespans.