Using Ensemble Streamflows for Power Marketing at Bonneville Power Administration

Monday, 15 December 2014
Steven B. Barton and Paul Koski, Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, OR, United States
Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is a federal non-profit agency within the Pacific Northwest responsible for marketing the power generated from 31 federal hydro projects throughout the Columbia River Basin. The basin encompasses parts of five states and portions of British Columbia, Canada. BPA works with provincial entities, federal and state agencies, and tribal members to manage the water resources for a variety of purposes including flood risk management, power generation, fisheries, irrigation, recreation, and navigation. This basin is subject to significant hydrologic variability in terms of seasonal volume and runoff shape from year to year which presents new water management challenges each year. The power generation planning group at BPA includes a team of meteorologists and hydrologists responsible for preparing both short-term (up to three weeks) and mid-term (up to 18 months) weather and streamflow forecasts including ensemble streamflow data. Analysts within the mid-term planning group are responsible for running several different hydrologic models used for planning studies. These models rely on these streamflow ensembles as a primary input. The planning studies are run bi-weekly to help determine the amount of energy available, or energy inventory, for forward marketing (selling or purchasing energy up to a year in advance). These studies are run with the objective of meeting the numerous multi-purpose objectives of the basin under the various streamflow conditions within the ensemble set. In addition to ensemble streamflows, an ensemble of seasonal volume forecasts is also provided for the various water conditions in order to set numerous constraints on the system. After meeting all the various requirements of the system, a probabilistic energy inventory is calculated and used for marketing purposes.