NREL's Emulation Platform Unleashes Potential for Clean Energy Grid Integration

Hydropower plants are large and expensive, making it difficult to customize and test their designs. In contrast, wind and solar energy technologies are easier to model, perfect, and deploy. To address this challenge, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed a Real-Time Hydropower Emulation Platform. This platform utilizes field data, mathematical models, and hardware to recreate hydropower plants in a virtual laboratory setting. It enables users to study how different plant designs would operate in the real world and in real time, providing a cost-effective and low-risk way to test new hydropower technologies and grid configurations.

The development of this emulation platform is particularly crucial for the clean energy power grid transition. Hydropower's reliable and flexible energy, along with its storage capabilities, will play a significant role in maintaining grid stability. While the integration of solar and wind energy into the grid has been extensively studied, the potential of hydropower in supporting a clean energy grid is not well understood. By using power electronics to enhance control over energy output, hydropower plants can swiftly respond to both cyber and natural threats, further increasing their value in a future clean energy system.

Read the complete news by energypost.eu: https://energypost.eu/hydropowers-full-potential-emulator-optimises-designs-and-operations-in-real-time/ 

Hydropower Emulation Platform, NREL - TaraSmithIllustration Hydropower Emulation Model. Credit: Tara Smith, NREL


IHA Hydropower Outlook 2023: Global Growth and the Path to Net-Zero

According to the International Hydropower Association (IHA), hydropower accounted for 15% of the world's electricity generation last year. China led the sector's growth with a substantial increase of 24GW in capacity, marking the first time since 2016 that over 30GW of new capacity was built in a single year. Meanwhile, Switzerland, Portugal, and Turkey spearheaded significant projects in Europe, with Norway, Austria, and Italy also making notable contributions.

Despite the progress observed in the sector, the IHA's World Hydropower Outlook highlights that an additional 700GW of hydropower capacity is required to remain on track for achieving global net-zero emissions by 2050. In terms of investment, the report emphasizes the need for an annual funding of $100 billion to support the realization of net-zero goals, which is currently only half of the required amount.

Eddie Rich, CEO of the IHA, emphasizes the importance of incentivizing sustainable hydropower development through financial and market mechanisms, streamlining permitting and licensing processes for renewable projects, and implementing regulatory practices that prioritize hydropower sustainability. The Outlook provides a realistic roadmap to leverage hydropower and other renewables in meeting net-zero targets, urging governments to consider the recommendations presented to drive the development of sustainable hydropower and accelerate progress towards global climate goals.

Read more on the IHA Hydropower Outlook 2023.