Pushing the limits of hydropower: an inside look at XFLEX HYDRO

Tuesday, October 31, 2023
15:30 – 16:45 WITA


The pathway to a net zero economy is posing unprecedented challenges to electric power systems; in a world dominated by non-dispatchable sources, system flexibility will be a crucial aspect that will need to be maximised and valued. The XFLEX HYDRO consortium has extensively studied and successfully implemented a set of innovative hydropower technologies, such as Variable Speed, Battery Hybridisation, Hydraulic Short Circuit and Plant Digitalisation capable of enhancing the flexibility of existing hydropower fleet. The goal of this session is to present the work and the findings of the XFLEX Hydro project and discuss the main barriers limiting the implementation of these technologies.

Session objectives

  • Explain the fundamental and growing need for systems flexibility over the next three decades.
  • Present the upgrade opportunities for existing power plants studied in the XFLEX Hydro project, and the associated technical benefits.
  • Present the Flexibility Matrix as a universal metric to compare and judge the flexibility of a given asset or a fleet at the national and regional level.
  • Present the costs and economics of these upgrade opportunities. 
  • Discuss the main barriers limiting the implementation of these technologies, and present key messages for policy makers to enable and support their adoption.


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