Optimizing hydroelectric power generation

Optimizing water production

Optimizing hydroelectric power generation in water basins is highly complex given the large number of variables involved and numerous technical and regulatory constraints. The objective is different whether the electric system is regulated (to maximize production) or liberalized. In this latter, the objective is to optimize profit in compliance with all the regulatory constraints, such as retributions for secondary or tertiary regulation or special regime for mini-grids, the market variables (pricing forecasts, regulation for specific markets, etc.), and the strategic action planning.

Besides the problems involved in maximizing production or profit, there are also physical aspects to take into consideration: coupling of reservoirs from the same river basin, not-linear dependency of the power generated by each unit based on flow and storage rate, units startup and shutdown restrictions, maximum and minimum storage, global pumped-storage plants statistics. In short, it´s a not-linear optimization problem dealing with continuous and discrete variables along with a considerable number of tough constraints.


Grupo AIA has developed its own technique to solve this problem based on an innovative modeling of the output curves for the generating substation, which maintains the essential not linearity of the problem and allows to apply Network Flow and Convex Optimization mathematical techniques afterwards. Optimization can be calculated by yearly, weekly or daily time horizons.

Grupo AIA has successfully used these hydroelectric optimization methodologies in different scenarios, including river basins with different coupled reservoirs, pumping plants or run on the river hydro plants:

  • SOPHIA system implementation for hydroelectric generation optimization in one of the largest producers in Spain.
  • SOPHIA system implementation for economic profit optimization in hydroelectric generation management in another leading power producer in Spain. Includes market supply stratification of the different output levels at any time.

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