Thomas Mosier serves on the HydroWIRES committee as the Research Area 4 lead for Technology Innovation. The overarching objective in that role is to develop solutions that enable hydropower units and plants to meet evolving grid needs.
INL's research on integration of hydropower and energy storage exemplifies technology innovation that increases a hydropower plant's ability to provide grid services such as frequency regulation and load following. Run-of-river hydropower plants have no ability to provide these services. Although reservoir-based hydropower plants can provide these services, they could realize more value in being able to provide additional services. A case study conducted under this project demonstrated the potential for one utility with hydropower to boost its revenue by up to 18%.
INL also conducts significant research on resilience of the electric grid, which complements the HydroWIRES portfolio. The RADIANCE project funded under the Grid Modernization Lab Consortium program is developing self-healing, networked microgrids for the city of Cordova, Alaska, which gets most of its electricity from hydropower. One guiding objective of RADIANCE is improving utilization of existing hydropower generation to reduce use of diesel fuel and simultaneously improve the reliability and resilience of the system. The networked microgrids enable portions of Cordova's electric system to reconfigure based on impact to specific assets. For example, if a natural disaster makes one hydropower plant inoperable, the rest of the system will reconfigure to continue serving as much load as possible.