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Project: T152700 #0391

This report reviews the literature, studies, and presentations regarding the effects of start/stops on hydroelectric equipment. Changes in power marketing and the need for renewable resource integration have increased attention to the impacts of increased start/stops. Hydropower’s operational characteristics have made it a valuable resource for traditional load balancing and following. The value of this flexible operation increased in the 1990s when deregulation of some energy markets created more opportunities to capitalize on fluctuating energy prices by more aggressively operating their equipment (e.g. by starting and stopping more frequently, operating in Automatic Generation Control (AGC) mode, and running units off of peak efficiency). Presently, many system operators are integrating more variable renewable generation, like wind and solar. Furthermore, in some areas, hydropower plants are required to provide load balancing more aggressively to integrate these new, expanding resources into the transmission system grids. There is concern among asset owners about how the increased operational demands, in particular start/stop cycles, will impact their equipments’ operating life.

This report provides the results of a literature review of approximately 20 studies and presentations identified by the CEATI International’s Hydraulic Power Life Interest Group (HPLIG), along with recommendations for future research. The scope of the study was to identify and summarize the current research on the impacts of increased starts/stops at hydroelectric power plants. Relevant conclusions were identified, in addition to data gaps and further research needs.


Start/stop, Asset management, Operational impacts