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The impact of residual flow on energy generation in hydroelectric power plants

Abstract

In Brazil, 65% of the electric power production comes from hydroelectric power plants (HPPs). In some cases, these power plants divert the course of rivers, resulting in regions impacted by the absence of water, which are known as reduced fow sections (RFS). These sections are regulated by legislation and aim to maintain the minimum fow necessary to preserve the fauna, flora, fish, and human consumption in the region. Depending on the time of year, this minimum flow, also known as ecological flow (residual flow), can reach significant values, resulting in the interruption of power generation in these HPPs. This article presents a study case of two hydroelectric power plants located in different Brazilian states. The objective of this study is to explore the feasibility of implementing auxiliary generator groups that can operate uninterruptedly at different drop heights while ensuring the preservation of residual flow during low flow periods or taking advantage of the overflow flow by spillways during high flow periods. This auxiliary system would use the same set of structures and transmission systems as the main power plant, minimizing environmental impacts and implementation costs, allowing this solution to be implemented in HPPs that face this type of problem in Brazil. The results obtained indicate that HPPs with larger reservoirs have a greater ability to maintain residual flows with minimal generation loss and that run-of-the-river power plants are the most impacted by the maintenance of residual flow.

Keywords:
generation losses; ecological flow; hydroelectric power plants

1. Introduction

The Brazilian energy matrix is mainly composed of renewable resources, with 65% of its production coming from hydroelectric power plants (HPPs). These facilities use equipment and structures to convert potential hydraulic energy into mechanical energy through the interaction between the water and turbines. The potential energy can come from the accumulation reservoir, or the water flow itself. The generated energy is then transmitted to substations or transmission and distribution systems, with the final goal being the end consumer. Despite the abundance of water resources in Brazil, there are still challenges in meeting energy demand, such as the high cost of implementing an HPP and its increasing distance from consumer centers. Another factor that has become increasingly relevant in recent decades is that many HPPs built since the beginning of the 21st century do not have accumulation reservoirs or regulation, making them vulnerable to seasonal hydrological variation, directly impacting energy production.

Despite the majority of the HPPs not having a large reservoir, interference in the environment still exists and can cause serious harm to the local ecosystem. One strategy for preserving this downstream ecosystem from hydropower plants is to maintain a minimum flow in the watercourse. This minimum flow is known as the ecological flow, residual flow Qres, or reduced flow. In the last two decades, some alternatives have been adopted to mitigate the problems caused by reduced downstream flow. Perhaps the most emblematic case is the Belo Monte hydropower plant on the Xingu River, where an auxiliary powerhouse was built to generate energy by taking advantage of the minimum water flow that is designated as residual flow.

The issue of maintaining the residual flow in rivers where a Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) is installed is a common topic of discussion. One concern is how residual flow affects energy generation, particularly during periods of water scarcity (Silva et al., 2021SILVA, W. M. F. da; BASTOS, A. S.; SANTOS, I. G. M.; VIANA, E. M. F.; MARTINEZ, C. B. A influência da vazão residual na redução da capacidade das usinas hidrelétricas - Um estudo de caso de duas UHEs XXIV SIMPÓSIO BRASILEIRO DE RECURSOS HÍDRICOS, 24., 2021,Belo Horizonte. Anais [...] Belo Horizonte: ABRH, 2021.). Interest in the subject has increased with the creation of new projects that operate in the "run-of-river" system, which results in a reduction of the available flow for energy generation purposes. Furthermore, during periods of low affluence, it is possible that the available flows may not be sufficient to maintain the reservoir level, even when the power plants utilize the "run-of-river" system. In more severe cases, this can even prevent the activation of the generators. As a result, the HPP is obligated to release the flow through spillways and, in some cases, through dispersion valves. In these cases, the spilled flows do not generate energy, indicating the need to quantify the actual impact of residual flow on energy generation in these power plants.

2. Literature review

2.1 Brazilian legislation and flow grants

In Brazil, each state establishes a methodology for the quantitative and qualitative determination of ecological or residual flows (Buenaga, 2019BUENAGA, F. V. A. de S. C. Alternativa metodológica para definição da vazão ecológica em trechos de vazão reduzida em hidrelétricas. Rio de Janeiro: Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 2019.). The former National Department of Water and Electric Energy (DNAEE), now the National Agency of Electric Energy (ANEELAGÊNCIA NACIONAL DE ENERGIA ELÉTRICA - ANEEL. Introdução ao gerenciamento de recursos hídricos. Brasília: [s.n.].), developed regulations to determine minimum flows for water resource exploitation projects. These regulations established values based on a historical data series with a minimum duration of 10 years. For smaller generation enterprises, the established flow rate could not be lower than the minimum monthly average flow rate. This determination was based on calculations derived from annual observations at the enterprise locations (Buenaga, 2019BUENAGA, F. V. A. de S. C. Alternativa metodológica para definição da vazão ecológica em trechos de vazão reduzida em hidrelétricas. Rio de Janeiro: Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 2019.; DAEE, 2005).

The National Water Resources Policy and the National Water Resources Management System were established in 1997 through Law no. 9433. This law establishes parameters for granting rights to use water resources and ensures access rights to water in the country (ANEEL, 2000). According to Santilli (2007)SANTILLI, J. Aspectos jurídicos da política nacional de recursos hídricos. Série Grandes Eventos - Meio Ambiente, 2007., granting water rights is crucial for guaranteeing the quality and quantity of water in Brazil. These rights minimize the conflicting effects of uncontrolled use of the water resource and play an important role in water resource management. The National Water and Basic Sanitation Agency (ANAAGÊNCIA NACIONAL DE ÁGUAS E SANEAMENTO BÁSICO - ANA. Outorga de direito de uso de recursos hídricos. Brasília: [s.n.].) outlines criteria based on the characteristics of the water resources to be exploited. According to ANA (2020a), the goal of granting water rights is to ensure the quantitative and qualitative control of water use and effective exercise of access rights to water resources.

In Brazil, the capture or extraction of surface water or groundwater for various purposes, such as the discharge of sewage and liquid waste, macro-drainage, and hydroelectric generation, requires a grant. According to several studies (Benetti et al., 2003BENETTI, A. D.; LANNA, A. E. L.; COBALCHINI, M. S. Metodologias para determinação de vazões ecológicas em rios. Revista Brasileira de Recursos Hídricos, v. 8, n. 2, p. 149–160, 2003.; Facuri, 2004FACURI, M. F. A implantação de usinas hidrelétricas e o processo de licenciamento ambiental: a importância da articulação entre os setores elétrico e de meio ambiente no Brasil. Itajubá: Universidade Federal de Itajubá, 2004.; Gasques et al., 2018GASQUES, A. C. F.; NEVES, G. L.; SANTOS, J. D. dos; MAUAD, F. F.; OKAWA, C. M. P. Regionalização de vazões mínimas: breve revisão teórica [Regionalization of minimum flows: brief theoretical review]. REEC - Revista Eletrônica de Engenharia Civil, v. 14, n. 2, 6 mar. 2018.), water concessions must maintain the integrity of the granted flow rate for sustainably to meet the demands for water resources usage.

Each state in Brazil establishes its own criteria for granting rights in water usage, which indirectly defines their approach to residual water flow management (Collischonn et al., 2006COLLISCHONN, W.; SOUZA, G. R.; PRIANTE, G. K.; FREITAS, R. T.; AGRA, S. G. A. Da vazão ecológica ao hidrograma ecológico. CONGRESSO DA ÁGUA. Anais [...], 2006.). Vestena et al. (2012)VESTENA, L. R.; OLIVEIRA, É. D. de; CUNHA, M. C. da; THOMAZ, E. L. Vazão ecológica e disponibilidade hídrica na bacia das Pedras, Guarapuava - PR. Ambiente e Água - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Science, v. 7, n. 3, p. 212–227, 31 dez. 2012. highlight that the criteria for granting permits for water usage in Brazil are based on historical data and often favor hydrological methodologies. However, the use of multiple methods for determining ecological flow criteria can provide a more rational and correct utilization of water resources (Vestena et al., 2012VESTENA, L. R.; OLIVEIRA, É. D. de; CUNHA, M. C. da; THOMAZ, E. L. Vazão ecológica e disponibilidade hídrica na bacia das Pedras, Guarapuava - PR. Ambiente e Água - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Science, v. 7, n. 3, p. 212–227, 31 dez. 2012.). Table 1 presents a brief overview of the various laws in Brazilian states regarding the maximum grants allowable in water usage.

Table 1
Legislation for water allocation in the states.

2.2 Methodologies to calculate reference flow rates in Brazil

In Brazil, several methodologies are commonly employed for the calculation of reference water levels, as noted in Mendes (2007)MENDES, L. A. Análise dos critérios de outorga de direito de usos consuntivos dos recursos hídricos baseados em vazões mínimas e em vazões de permanência. [s.l.] Universidade de São Paulo, 2007.. These methodologies include:

  • Seven-day minimum flow with a recurrence period of 10 years (Q7,10).

  • The Tennant/Montana method, based on long-term average flow (QMLT).

  • Permanence Curve Analysis.

2.2.1 Seven-day minimum flow with ten-year recurrence period (Q7,10)

The methodology of "Seven-day Minimum Flow with a Ten-Year Recurrence Period" (Q7,10) is a hydrological approach that relies solely on historical data to determine the minimum flow levels in rivers. Unlike other methodologies, Q7,10 does not consider aquatic habitats. This methodology has the advantage of not requiring in-feld data collection, except for fow parameters.

According to the study conducted by Benetti et al., (2003)BENETTI, A. D.; LANNA, A. E. L.; COBALCHINI, M. S. Metodologias para determinação de vazões ecológicas em rios. Revista Brasileira de Recursos Hídricos, v. 8, n. 2, p. 149–160, 2003., the flow rate is obtained by calculating the daily moving average over 7-day intervals for a full year. The minimum value of the average is recorded. This process is repeated for a minimum recurrence period of ten years, resulting in a series of minimum flow values for 7 consecutive days. The data is sorted in ascending order, and its distributional function and return period are estimated. Within this distributional function, the duration of the minimum 7-day flow with a 10-year return period is calculated.

Equation 1 mathematically defines the indices necessary to calculate the Q7,10 flow rate (Benetti et al., 2003BENETTI, A. D.; LANNA, A. E. L.; COBALCHINI, M. S. Metodologias para determinação de vazões ecológicas em rios. Revista Brasileira de Recursos Hídricos, v. 8, n. 2, p. 149–160, 2003.):

(1) Q 7 , 10 = v ¯ + σ [ 0.4500 + 0.7797 [ ln ( T R T R 1 ) ]

In this equation, the following variables are considered: Q7,10: Minimum Seven-Day Flow with a Ten-Year Recurrence Period; v: Minimum Seven-Day Moving Average with a Recurrence Period of One Year; σ: Ten-Year Standard Deviation; TR: Recurrence or Return Rate.

2.2.2 Tennant/Montana Method based on long-term average flow

The 'Tennant/Montana Method' is based on the calculation of the long-term average flow rate (QMLT) for each hydrological site. This methodology considers varying percentages for dry and wet periods (dry / rainy seasons) (Benetti et al., 2003BENETTI, A. D.; LANNA, A. E. L.; COBALCHINI, M. S. Metodologias para determinação de vazões ecológicas em rios. Revista Brasileira de Recursos Hídricos, v. 8, n. 2, p. 149–160, 2003.). It involves the calculation of average annual flow rates. Table 2 presents the recommended percentages based on the period of time.

Table 2
QMLT flow recommended. Adapted from (Benetti et al., 2003BENETTI, A. D.; LANNA, A. E. L.; COBALCHINI, M. S. Metodologias para determinação de vazões ecológicas em rios. Revista Brasileira de Recursos Hídricos, v. 8, n. 2, p. 149–160, 2003.).

The Tennant Method is widely used for determining the ecological and permissible reference flow. It has undergone modifications to suit the characteristics of different regions, rather than being limited to the region of its inception and development (ANA, 2020b; Benetti et al., 2003BENETTI, A. D.; LANNA, A. E. L.; COBALCHINI, M. S. Metodologias para determinação de vazões ecológicas em rios. Revista Brasileira de Recursos Hídricos, v. 8, n. 2, p. 149–160, 2003.). The models generated using this method, based on historical data, are efficient and uncomplicated and do not require fieldwork. However, it is advisable to use them in a safe and limited way, by considering both primary characteristics and those that are similar to the region in which the method was developed, to minimize potential negative impacts.

2.2.3 Permanence curve analysis

The "Permanence Curve Analysis" methodology is a commonly used approach in Brazil for analyzing discharge statistics. It compares the flow rate to the probability of its occurrence over time. This comparison is made by using historical data to calculate daily, monthly, or annual variability. The methodology also accounts for the specific characteristics of the river being analyzed by ordering the data in ascending order and performing several steps, including determining the minimum and maximum flows of the analyzed events, defining class intervals between selected values, determining the flows contained in the intervals, obtaining the frequency distribution, accumulating of values in descending order, and plotting the data in permanence curve graphs. As shown in Figure 1, the flow rate corresponds to 75% of the permanence curve, indicating that 75% of the time, the flows are greater than or equal to the Q75 value. Drought periods with probabilities greater than 95% occur when flows are below the 5% level of the permanence curve (Mendes, 2007MENDES, L. A. Análise dos critérios de outorga de direito de usos consuntivos dos recursos hídricos baseados em vazões mínimas e em vazões de permanência. [s.l.] Universidade de São Paulo, 2007.).

Figure 1
Permanence curve. Adapted from (Mendes, 2007MENDES, L. A. Análise dos critérios de outorga de direito de usos consuntivos dos recursos hídricos baseados em vazões mínimas e em vazões de permanência. [s.l.] Universidade de São Paulo, 2007.).

3. Materials and methods

3.1 Case study

The present study aims to analyze the operational dispatch flows and determine the residual/ecological flows in two hydropower plants (HPPs), Retiro Baixo and Serra do Facão, located in the states of Minas Gerais and Goiás, Brazil, respectively (FURNAS, 2014). The historical series data for these two areas were obtained from the Reservoir Monitoring System (SAR) of the National Water and Basic Sanitation Agency (ANAAGÊNCIA NACIONAL DE ÁGUAS E SANEAMENTO BÁSICO - ANA. Outorga de direito de uso de recursos hídricos. Brasília: [s.n.].).

3.1.1 HPP Retiro baixo description

The Retiro Baixo Hydroelectric Power Plant is located in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and is the subject of study for residual flows in this research. The historical series related to the Retiro Baixo Hydroelectric Power Plant was obtained through the Reservoir Monitoring System (SAR) maintained by ANAAGÊNCIA NACIONAL DE ÁGUAS E SANEAMENTO BÁSICO - ANA. Outorga de direito de uso de recursos hídricos. Brasília: [s.n.].. According to the power plant administrators, FURNAS (2020a) and RBE (2020), the Retiro Baixo HPP is a "run-of-river" plant located on the Paraopeba River, approximately 5 km from the Três Marias HPP. Its characteristics are presented in Table 3.

Table 3
Characteristics of HPP Retiro Baixo. Source: (FURNAS, 2020a).

3.1.2 HPP Serra do Facão description

The Serra do Facão Hydroelectric Power Plant, located in the state of Goiás, Brazil, was selected as part of the study area in this research for the analysis of operational dispatch flows and identification of residual/ecological flows. The historical series pertaining to the Serra do Facão Hydroelectric Power Plant was obtained via the Reservoir Monitoring System (SAR) maintained by ANAAGÊNCIA NACIONAL DE ÁGUAS E SANEAMENTO BÁSICO - ANA. Outorga de direito de uso de recursos hídricos. Brasília: [s.n.].. According to information provided by the plant administrators FURNAS (2020b) and SEFAC (2020), the Serra do Facão Hydroelectric Power Plant is a run-of-river type located on the São Marcos River. The characteristics of the plant are presented in Table 4.

Table 4
Characteristics of the HPP Serra do Facão. (SEFAC, 2020).

3.2 Methodology

The maintenance of residual flow is currently governed by a range of environmental, economic, and social factors, among others (ANA, 2011, 2020a). The granted flow rate criteria for the two HPPs studied in this research, Retiro Baixo and Serra do Facão, are analyzed based on the data presented in Table 1. The criteria used by IGAM-MG are more stringent compared to those outlined by SECIMAGO, as a result of differences in the granting methodology adopted by each state. Most hydroelectric enterprises are typically exempt from granting criteria due to previous evaluation, unavailability of historical flow series, or current water usage legislation, or due to minimum operating parameters that surpass the requirements set by the competent agency. Although scientifically validated methodologies are employed for granting flow permits, there is ongoing debate regarding the criteria and methods used to consider the water resource ecosystem and watercourse characteristics. Hence, each enterprise should undertake comprehensive and necessary procedures for optimal local alignment.

3.2.1 Determination of power and energy

The installed power capacity of an HPP (‘Pinst’) is directly dependent on both the specific mass of the water (‘ρ’), the design flow ’Q’, the existing unevenness of the site ‘’, the acceleration of gravity ‘g’, and the overall efficiency of the plant (‘η’) The product of these quantities, results in the total power of the plant, as seen in Equation 2 (Doland, 1954DOLAND, J. J. Hydro power engineering: a textbook for civil engineers. [s.l.] Ronald Press Company, 1954.).

(2) P i n s t = ρ g Q H η 1000 ( k W )

The Firm Energy corresponds to the maximum production that a plant can supply. It considers the driest period registered in the flow history without the occurrence of deficits, as well as the entire historical record of its affluence, as presented in Equation 3. In the same equation, Tav.time is the average operation time of the installation, in months or years (Hicks et al., 1974 HICKS, R.; GAGNON, C.; JACOBY, S.; KOWALIK, J. Large scale, nonlinear optimization of energy capability for the pacific northwest hydroelectric system. IEEE Transactions on Power Apparatus and Systems, v. PAS-93, n. 5, p. 1604-1612, Set. 1974.) .

(3) E f i r m = P i n s t . T a v . t i m e . ( k W )

In order to calculate the revenue loss (Parrec) related to the dispatch of the residual flow in a certain period of time, the commercialization value of energy (Venerg) in the Brazilian currency of ‘reais’ (R$) / kWh is multiplied by the sum of the flow dispatched by the spillway systems or dispersing elements with environmental purposes (‘∑Qres’), as well as by the specific mass of the water (‘ρ’), the existing slope at the site (‘H’), the acceleration of gravity (‘g’), and the global efficiency of the installation (‘η’); as presented in Equation 4.

(4) P a r r e c . = V e n e r g * Q res * ρ * g * H * η * 24 h [ R $ ]

3.2.2 General procedure

Initially, the total water levels of the HPP studied were obtained from data collected in the SAR source. Subsequently, an analysis of the allocated flows and their usage considerations was conducted based on current legislation. This allowed for the determination of the characteristics of the current system and the proposed energy cogeneration system, utilizing residual flows as a secondary energy source. To accurately depict the energy generation process, the following were considered: i) comparison of the dispatched residual flows with the calculated flows; ii) analysis of load losses in the generation system coupled with the residual flow maintenance system; and iii) design of the generation system based on the site characteristics.

3.2.3 Study of the flow of the hydroelectric power plants Retiro Baixo and Serra do Facão

For the analysis of flow rates of each Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) under study, historical data obtained from the Reservoir Monitoring System (SAR) provided by ANA (2020b) were utilized. SAR is responsible for monitoring the flow series of all reservoirs and waterways in Brazil and regulating and supervising agencies in each state of the country. The data recorded by SAR includes quantitative and qualitative parameters of the reservoirs and watercourses, including turbine flow, which refers to the flow that passes through the turbines for power generation, and spilled flow, which is discharged through spillways and/or bottom valves. The flow data of both HPPs Retiro Baixo and Serra do Facão are presented in Table 5.

Table 5
Characteristics of HPPs Retiro Baixo and Serra do Facão.(ANA, 2020b).

3.2.4 Retiro Baixo HPP

According to the reports obtained via SAR (ANA, 2020b), a few particularities can be observed in the operation of the HPP Retiro Baixo. First, since this HPP is characterized as a run-of-river plant, all the flow is dispatched by turbine, by spill, or by both. Secondly, once the HPP is geographically located close to the Três Marias reservoir, the HPP also regulates the flow of one of the affluent rivers of this reservoir. By analyzing the environmental flow dispatch, according to SAR, and respecting the need of feeding the basin of the reservoir, it is noticeable that the dispatched flows that did not pass by the turbine depend on a few factors. These are the following: i) the affluent flow of the HPP Retiro Baixo; and ii) the need of continuous flow of the river. By considering that, we find the environmental flows (spilled) between 7 and 28 m3/s (ANA, 2020b).

3.2.5 Serra do Facão HPP

The characteristics of the Serra do Facão HPP, according to the reports obtained by means of SAR (ANA, 2020b), are presented in Table 5 and Figure 2.

Figure 2
HPP Serra do Facão permanence curve.

By analyzing the particularities of data collected, it is considered that this plant is characterized as an accumulation plant. Its function is to regulate the fow of the main watercourse of the ‘São Marcos’ River, according to SAR. As such, it can be said that there is practically no environmental flow dispatch, with exceptions in periods of drought or when the use of turbines is unavailable. Additionally, notice that the minimum spill flow observed was 0.5 m3/s.

4. Results and discussion

4.1 Determination of flow rate for the HPP of ‘Retiro Baixo’ and ‘Serra do Facão’

In order to determine the flow rate of the Retiro Baixo Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP), located in Minas Gerais, the Q7,10 flow criterion was employed. This criterion takes into account statistical correlations of experimental parameters and is calculated using Equation 1. On the other hand, the Serra do Facão HPP, located in Goiás, utilized the Q95 flow criterion. This criterion is based on an analysis of the flow permanence curve from historical series, with a minimum observational period of 10 years. Essentially, the Q95 flow criterion assumes that 95% of the time, the watercourse flow rate will be equal to, or higher than, the value determined by the permanence curve analysis.

4.2 Retiro Baixo hydroelectric power plant

The Retiro Baixo HPP has been operating for commercial purposes since March of 2010. Data on minimum average mobile flows presented in Table 6 were obtained according to the historical series provided by ANAAGÊNCIA NACIONAL DE ÁGUAS E SANEAMENTO BÁSICO - ANA. Outorga de direito de uso de recursos hídricos. Brasília: [s.n.]. via SAR.

Table 6
Annual 7-day mobile minimum average flows with a recurrence time of 10 years.

By applying Equation 1 to this data, we found the value of 5.89 m3/s of ecological flow (Q7,10). Considering the current legislation applicable to the state of Minas Gerais, 70% of this flow should be maintained in the reduced flow section which corresponds to 4.12 m3/s. When analyzing data provided by SAR, it is noticeable that for flows lower than 7 m3/s, there is no use of turbines. This flow is dispensed by the overflow system of the HPP. The HPP Retiro Baixo has a minimum turbinable flow of 15% of the nominal swallow value, it means, 19.20 m3/s. The history of generation or dispatching by spillways made available by SAR indicates that the minimum dispatched flow (ecological flow) was 7 m3/s higher than the required ecological flow, which is 4.12 m3/s.

Despite the ecological flow rate being 4.12 m3/s, Retiro Baixo maintained, in some periods, flows up to seven times this value. This happened even during periods of low affluence of flows to the reservoir. As a result, during 441 days over the 10 years considered, there were spills in the facility. Respecting the minimum turbine flow limit of 15% of the nominal flow (19.20 m3/s), the hypothesis that flows lower than this one, and higher than the ecological flow will be stored in the reservoir was adopted. The balance between the turbined and spilled flows for the purpose of maintaining the residual flow is presented in Table 7. It indicates that the loss of energy generation in the available history is 2.75% of the energy generated. When applying an average hydraulic energy price of R$ 183.82/MWh for the period between 06-2020 and 06-202 (CCEE, 2021), one finds a loss in value of commercialized energy of more than R$ 8 million; as shown in Table 7.

Table 7
Monitoring of flows and generation loss at HPP Retiro Baixo.

4.3 Serra do Facão hydroelectric power plant

The Serra do Facão HPP has been in operating for a commercial purpose since October of 2010. The legislation of the state of Goiás requires the residual flow in the TVR to be 70% of the Q95 obtained from the flow permanence curve. From Figure 2, we obtain that Q95 has an approximate value of 34.33 m3/s, which indicates a residual flow of 24.03 m3/s. This HPP has a minimum turbinable flow of 15% of the nominal swallow, that is, 23.33 m3/s. The history of generation/dispatching by spillways made available by SAR indicates that the minimum dispatched flow (ecological or residual flow) was 0.5 m3/s lower than the required ecological flow, which is 24.03 m3/s. Thus, over the 10 years analyzed, this HPP has dispatched residual/ecological flows through the spill system for 94 days. For this study, we adopted the hypothesis that the operation of the hydroelectric plant will only dispatch from the generating group flows higher than 24.03 m3/s. Flows lower than this and higher than the residual flow will be stored in the reservoir. The balance between turbine flows and spilled flows for the purpose of maintaining the residual flow is presented in Table 8. It indicates that the generation loss in the available history is only 0.25% of the energy generated.

Table 8
Monitoring of flow and generation loss at HPP Serra do Facão.

5. Conclusion

In Brazil, the legal requirement for residual/ecological/reduced flow maintenance values varies across states. Some state legislation mandates low residual flows along rivers, which is 70% of Q7,10 in the state of Minas Gerais, while in states such as Goiás, the flow should be 70% of Q95. The studies carried out and analyzed show that the percentage reduction of the turbine flow is minimal, ranging from 0.25% to 2.75% for the HPPs Serra do Facão and Retiro Baixo, respectively. It is worth noting that the residual flow requirement for the Serra do Facão HPP is proportionally greater than that of Retiro Baixo HPP. However, the flow characteristics and existence of the accumulation reservoir provide greater flexibility in maintaining residual flow and minimizing generation losses.

The data and results indicate that the impact of maintaining residual flow is small and amounts to less than R$16,300.00 and R$70,200.00 per month for Serra do Facão and Retiro Baixo, respectively. It is important to note that HPPs with larger reservoirs generally have a better ability to maintain residual flows while reducing energy generation losses. It is preliminarily concluded that the reduction of energy generation can be considered minimal and that adjustments in load dispatch can further minimize this loss. Further studies involving a larger number of HPPs and incorporating environmental requirements into load dispatch rules should be conducted to minimize this loss even more. Additionally, the impact of energy generation reduction in HPPs could be incorporated into the cost of installation and energy generation.

Acknowledgments

This research was funded by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001; CNPq - license number PQ: 304370/2018-5305059/2022-0; Fapemig - license number PPM-00252-18; and SEFAC/ ANEELAGÊNCIA NACIONAL DE ENERGIA ELÉTRICA - ANEEL. Introdução ao gerenciamento de recursos hídricos. Brasília: [s.n.]. - license number PD-06899-2912/2016 & PD-06899-2812/2016.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    18 Dec 2023
  • Date of issue
    Jan-Mar 2024

History

  • Received
    24 Feb 2023
  • Accepted
    13 Aug 2023
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