Clean Currents 2023

A2b: Demonstrating Small Hydro’s Black Start and Grid Islanding Capability with Energy Storage Support

In the U.S., there are at least 500 municipal, electric cooperative, and publicly owned utilities with local hydropower in their generation portfolio. Ideally, these hydropower plants can play a crucial role of local grid resilience and support of critical loads in the event of weather-affected transmission failure or bulk power system black-out.

Yet, many of them lack the capability of grid islanding, and critical load’s stable restoration due to their small (at most 10 MW) size.

Energy storage, such as Li-Ion battery or ultracapacitor, can theoretically stabilize such small hydro-based local grid restoration, but such proof-of-concept must be demonstrated before any storage deployment is decided.

We will share the technical de-risking experience (e.g., dynamic model development, control tuning, and power hardware-in-the-loop testing), lessons learned, and key takeaways for two such black start field demonstrations.

These demonstrations are funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office HydroWIRES Initiative and showcase how small hydropower, with appropriate energy storage support, can black start and restore critical loads.

The first demonstration of small hydro black start and grid restoration included a 375 kVA / 1.24 kWh ultracapacitor and Idaho Falls Power’s 3.6-MW Old Lower, 8.9-MW Lower Bulb, and 8.9-MW City Bulb hydropower plants.

The second demonstration includes a 250 kVA / 320 kWh Li-Ion battery and Fall River Electric Cooperative’s 5.5-MW Felt hydropower plant.

Presenter Information

Yemi Ojo

Yemi Ojo
Clean Energy Postdoctoral Research Associate, Energy Systems
Idaho National Laboratory (INL), U.S. Department of Energy
Poster Presenter

Quick Links