Run of River Hydroelectric Power Stations

Application Notes

Application Background                                                                                                                                                                                          Printer Friendly Version

Run of river hydroelectric generation is where little or no water storage is provided. Such plants are small and only divert a small amount of the river flow from the river for power generation, and then return that water flow back to the river a small distance downstream.

application note run of river hydro power 1

These smaller plants have less impact on the river, as they don’t need to have a large dam to store water, however there is a strong regulatory requirement to ensure the river parameters are not changed during the diversion, hence the water parameters need to be measured very carefully at the in-flow to the power station and at the out-flow where the water is returned to the river.

Application Detail

Water parameter measurement stations need to be installed at the intake and the outlet of the power station, and along the river at various points upstream and downstream from the power station. The measurements needed include water level, water flow, water quality / conductivity, and water temperature.

application note run of river hydro power 2

With reliable data at these points, the operator can ensure they remain within the regulatory requirements of the state or provincial authority responsible for river management. As with all river parameter measurement, a measurement method needs to be determined. Smaller and easier probes to install such as hydrostatic pressure probes are generally preferred as the terrain conditions are often challenging. Using a large stilling well is often not practical, and also may not be allowed as these structures impact the environment. Stilling wells may be affected by seasonal flood conditions

application note run of river hydro power 3

Typically several instruments would be connected via one SDI 12 interface, as the application requires a very low power environment and the slower speed of SDI 12 is acceptable for the application. Example instruments would be the 6542D Hydrostatic Depth probe, the 6526H Ultrasonic Doppler Flow Meter and temperature probes. The 6536E Water Electro conductivity Instrument could be used to measure the water quality.

6536E water monitoring conductivity instrument with 6536P-2 probe

As these installations are often in rugged mountain environments, cell phone coverage is usually not available and satellite based telemetry systems are needed. The Neon Remote Terminal Satellite, either low earth orbit or equatorial earth orbit systems could be chosen. The terrain also needs to be considered. As these installations are usually in deep valleys, the view towards the sky is less, and the high hills may block the view to the equatorial earth orbit satellite provider of your choice.

6528A pH Probe

If you choose a low earth orbit system (these systems transit the sky every hour or so ) coverage would be available for the short period of time the low earth orbit satellite is visible from that location
A review of the local conditions, especially the view of the sky is needed to determine the best choice. There are web based tools which provide the azimuth and elevation angles to different equatorial satellite providers based on the latitude and longitude of a particular location. With the azimuth and elevation angles, the site can be reviewed to determine if use of an equatorial elevation satellite provider is practical.

Water Quality Monitoring Equipment

As these systems are remote primary power is generally not available and solar panel and gel cell battery would be needed. Unidata engineers calculate a power budget, so the size of the battery and panel can be determined. Bearing in mind the cold climate, these would need to be sized to include a reasonable margin, perhaps size the panel and battery to enable the system to survive several days of low sun. Also, it is common practice to only power up the instruments when needed, for example if there was a 5 minute data logging rate required, the instruments would be powered up, perhaps one minute before the reading time, and then turned off after the reading, to conserve power.

The data collected at these measurement stations would be available to view on the Neon Server using a standard web browser, and anywhere on the web provided appropriate login credentials were set up on the Neon Server for this purpose.

Finally we would expect the collected data would be on sent, perhaps every minute, using Neon Server automatic reports, to a River Monitoring / Hydrographic analysis software package such as Aquarius or Hydstra for more detailed river hydrographic modeling and river gauging processes.

application note run of river hydro power 7

Typical Configuration

Options for Neon Telemetry - NRT / RTU / Field UnitsUnidata Part NumberDescription
Cellular RTU 3G2013F-AB03Neon Metering Module 3G with Antenna and Li Battery
Cellular RTU 4G2013F-AB04Neon Metering Module 4G with Antenna and Li Battery
Cellular RTU 3G - Industrial2016F-AB03Neon Remote Terminal 3G with Antenna and Li Battery
Cellular RTU 4G - Industrial2016F-AB04Neon Remote Terminal 4G with Antenna and Li Battery
Low Earth Orbit Satellite Globalstar2015E-AB0Neon Remote Terminal - Satellite Globalstar Modem with Antenna and three Li Batteries
Ethernet2017E-0B0-1 or 3NRT Ethernet with single or triple Ethernet Ports
with three Li Batteries
Equatorial Orbit Satellite - Inmarsat2018E-AB0-1 or 3NRT Ethernet with single or triple Ethernet Ports
with three Li Batteries
LCD Display2500ENRT LCD Display
NRT Field Termination Strip2103F2015E,2016F,2017E, and 2018E NRT FTS
NRT Firmware Option2303A-8M8M Extended Memory Option
NRT Firmware Option2303A-8M-CAM8M Extended Memory & Serial Camera Option
NRT Firmware Option2303A-CAMSerial Camera Option
Options for Neon Application Software - Customer ServerUnidata Part NumberDescription
Neon Application Software2302ANeon Server Software Licence Incl 5 NAL
Neon Application Software2302A-10Additional 10 NRT Access Licences
Neon Application Software2302A-20Additional 20 NRT Access Licences
Neon Application Software2302A-50Additional 50 NRT Access Licences
Options for Neon Application Software - Unidata ServerUnidata Part NumberDescription
Neon Application Software2301ANeon Data Initial Subscription Setup Fee
Neon Hosting Service2301A-01Neon Data Service Fee for 1-50 NRTs
Neon Hosting Service2301A-02Neon Data Service Fee for 51-100 NRTs
Neon Hosting Service2301A-10Neon Data Service Fee Metering
Options for Conventional Dataloggers / Field UnitsUnidata Part NumberDescription
Standards Starlogger6004D-11Red Logger 512K with Alkaline Battery
Display Starlogger6004D-21Blue Logger 512K with LCD and Alkaline Battery
Prologger7001D-11Green Logger 1M with LCD and Alkaline Battery
Micrologger8010C-EURMicrologger 512K
Starlogger Field Termination Strip6103E6004D FTS
Prologger Field Termination Strip7100E7001D FTS
Starlog V4 Management Software6308A-AUEStarlog V4 Full Licence Key