Date of Award

8-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Civil Engineering

Advisor

Khan, Abdul A.

Committee Member

Aziz , Nadim M.

Committee Member

Mayorga , Maria E.

Abstract

Hydropower is generated from three reservoirs in the United States Army Corps of Engineer's Savannah District. These reservoirs include J. Strom Thurmond, Richard B. Russell, and Hartwell. Currently, a contract in place specifies that certain amount of energy must be provided to the region. The contract for the hydropower was based upon the critical hydrologic year of 1981. Historically, this was the most severe drought on record and assumed to provide the lowest net inflows for the three reservoirs, thus providing an attainable or reliable energy amount for the system, which suggests a dependable energy yield.
Reevaluating the contract amount and the period of obligation for energy production could create more consistent energy costs and allow for a more flexible basin management strategy. The analysis of factors that effects the hydropower generation would also provide insight into hydropower forecasting and strategies. This will lead to an increased control on environmental influences and higher economic benefit from the entire watershed. All of these factors would result in a greater overall benefit to regional consumers.
Analysis of 25 years of operational data has shown that a 90% reliable yield is about 40% less than the current contract. Moreover, the weekly restraints on generation requirements are often set too high as the frequency of meeting the contact amount is barely 30% for most months. These inconsistencies result in a cost variation which affects the consumers. Statistical analysis of historic energy generation provides procedures to determine a reliable energy yield by observing generation amounts that occur within an acceptable amount of risk. The reliable amount of energy was found to be about 15,500 MWh, which is significantly less than the current contract.
Additional conclusions from this study found that visitation could have a much greater economic impact over hydropower generation. In addition, local inflow to the Hartwell basin exhibited the strongest correlation to the system hydropower generation. These conclusions will help with new management, operation, and forecasting strategies in the Savannah River Basin.

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