High flow events (including both the high flow pulses and floods) exert many critical ecological functions in riverine ecosystems and their elimination will lead to severe ecological degradation. However, common hydropower operations are only required to legally maintain the minimum environmental flows (e-flows). The extra release of high flow events will result in revenue loss of hydropower producers. In this research, we propose an approach to assessing the eco-compensation standard which is necessary to compensate the loss of hydropower producers and promote the release of high flows to downstream rivers. The scenario tree approach is adopted for the generation of possible scenarios of flows and electricity prices to deal with the uncertainties of the two factors in deregulated electricity markets. A stochastic linear programming method is proposed to determine the maximum mean annual revenues under two e-flow provision scenarios, i.e., only sustaining the minimum e-flows (scenario 1) and sustaining both the minimum e-flows and a specified number of high flow events (scenario 2). The revenue difference under the two e-flow scenarios is set as the eco-compensation standard. A case study in the Wangkuai reservoir, China, demonstrates that the eco-compensation standard is obviously influenced by the installed hydropower generation capacity (IHGC) and the number of high flow events planned to be released. Moreover, the greatest standards may be not corresponding to a very large IHGC.
Journal of Cleaner Production – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2018
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