Complementary relationship between small-hydropower and increasing penetration of solar photovoltaics: Evidence from CAISO
To achieve the 100% green electricity goal, we need to understand the relationship between resources in the market and identify the flexible clean resources (i.e., hydropower) to integrate power from wind and photovoltaic (PV). This paper reveals a complementary relationship between small hydropower plants and solar PVs in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) based on the system-wide hourly generation data from 2013 to 2017. When the solar PV increases its portion in the generation mix by 1%, small hydro will increase its portion by 0.01–0.06%. Such response is obvious in the net demand peak hours, both morning and evening. The low operation cost, flexibility, and dispatchability of small hydro in CAISO explain this complementarity. Due to its benefit in emission and low Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE), it is suggested to consider more small hydro projects to accommodate additional PV capacity for the 100% green electricity goal. Our estimation indicates that the current feasible potential of small hydro is sufficient, if the relation stays the same over years. If developers can mitigate the environmental impact, more technical potential will become feasible. Thus, small hydro could integrate more solar PV and reduce the demand for natural gas plants and batteries.
Shan, R; Sasthav, C; Wang, X; Lima, LMM
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