With an average age of 64 years, the United States hydropower fleet requires smart modernization to reduce costs and enhance the overall reliability and value of the nation’s longest-serving renewable energy technology. As the electric power grid prioritizes reliability and resiliency while valuing an evolving mix of variable renewable energy sources, hydropower technology requires integrating control systems, analytics, simulation, and optimization to remain competitive.
A Digital Twin (DT) is a virtual representation of a physical entity created using various data sources like sensors, simulations, and data. Sponsored by the Water Power Technologies
Office, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the launch of DTs for hydropower will affordably modernize the nation’s hydropower
DTs play a significant role in optimizing hydropower facilities’ operation, maintenance, and overall performance.
The Alder Hydroelectric Development is a part of the Nisqually Hydroelectric Project located on the Nisqually River in Washington State. It is owned and operated by the City of Tacoma’s Public Utilities Department and is a significant component of the Nisqually River Hydroelectric Project.
The Alder Dam was completed in 1945. It rises 330 ft above bedrock, stretching 1,600 feet. The two 25,000-kilowatt turbine generators in its powerhouse produce clean renewable hydroelectric energy to serve approximately 18,000 homes per year.
The DT project led by PNNL and ORNL worked with Tacoma Power to collect data about water levels, flow rates, and other important parameters to train a DT, which was then trained, modeled, and validated against real data.
The goal of this project is for operators to monitor the performance of the facility and identify any deviations from the optimal operating conditions. DTs are capable of simulating events and conditions, predicting maintenance and repairs, and reviewing outcomes using the DT dashboard.
View and download the Digital Twins flyer.