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Project Summary

This project will develop, demonstrate, and deploy a state-of-the-art analytical toolset for owners and operators of hydropower assets. This toolset will help to enhance power economics and lower system operation costs; increase environmental sustainability and energy production; and produce higher levels of grid services from available water.

Project Snapshot
Project TitleWater Use Optimization Toolset
AwardeeArgonne National Laboratory
Awardee HQ LocationIllinois
DOE Funding Amount$4,692,812
Program AreaOptimization/Environmental Research and Analysis
Recipient TypeLaboratory
Award TypeAnnual Operating Plan
Year Awarded2014
Work LocationsIllinois, New Mexico, Tennessee, Washington
Congressional District(s)IL-3, NM-1, TN-3, WA-4, WA-7


What You Need To Know


This project supports research and development efforts to devise new advanced tools to improve efficiency, flexibility of operation, and environmental performance of both existing and new hydropower developments. The project has four components: forecasting stream flows; optimization of hydropower operations; determination of environmental performance; and advanced scheduling and real-time operations.  These components are individually developed and can be used independently or in concert with one another.  The tool will help to optimize hydropower operations in real time and enable evaluation of present and future hydropower and pumped-storage hydropower technologies to reduce deployment barriers and increase unit and plant efficiency.  Both hydropower and pumped-storage hydropower are essential to the stability of the U.S. power grid, responding quickly meet electricity demand and balancing variable generation, such as wind or solar. 

  • Increased energy and grid services from available water.
  • Enhanced environmental benefits from improved hydropower operations and planning.
  • The project team will produce a set of computer modeling tools used by the hydropower industry.
  • The project team developed and tested the tool using public funding, and the team is working to transition support of the project by the hydropower industry.

Project Partners

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Project lead for unit and plant efficiency
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Project lead for hydrologic forecasting
Sandia National Laboratories
Project lead for seasonal hydro systems analysis

About the Water Power Technologies Office

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office advances cutting-edge technology to modernize the U.S. hydropower fleet and drive U.S. leadership in wave and tidal energy, with the goal of delivering low-cost power and resiliency to America’s power grids.