This paper presents a new method for solving the short-term unit commitment and loading problem of a hydropower system. Dynamic programming is used to compute maximum power output generated by a power plant. This information is then used as input of a two-phase optimization process. The first phase solves the relaxation of a nonlinear mixed-integer program in order to obtain the water discharge, reservoir volume and optimal number of units working at each period in the planning horizon. The second stage solves a linear integer problem to determine which combination of turbines to use at each period. The goal is to maximize total power produced over all periods of the planning horizon which consists of a week divided in hourly periods. Start-up of turbines are penalized. Numerical experiments are conducted on thirty different test cases for two Rio Tinto Alcan power plants with five turbines each.
Published April 2014 , 18 pages