Utilizing excess capacities & shortening demand response times at hydropower plants
Hydroelectric power plants can use data centers as an excellent alternative to market-dependent hedging options. Data centers that provide base load consumption can be used to utilize excess capacities resulting from high water flows and low demand.
Furthermore, a base load consumer can optimize the operation of a power plant, making participation in more demand response tenders accessible due to significantly shortened reaction times, ranging from a couple of minutes to as fast as 1 second.
Common operational challenges of hydropower plants
For hydro plants, the potential discharge from water flow depends greatly on the hydrological conditions of the dry and wet seasons. However, even when the potential to generate a large supply of electricity exists, it often remains untapped without a direct consumer. Consequently, excess capacity goes unused and becomes a missed revenue opportunity.
If a hydro power plant participates in demand response tenders, its reaction time is typically close to three minutes. This is the time it takes for dams to react, which disqualifies them from the primary frequency containment reserve tender market entirely.
The Enerhash solution
The data center is directly connected to the power generation asset. This provides an on-demand base load consumer whose consumption can be adjusted entirely to fit the needs of the power plant. By shutting off the data center, the power plant can sell power to the grid and participate in demand response tenders with a faster reaction time, decreasing from 3 minutes to 1 second.
Main benefits of an on-site base load consumer
To bridge the slow reaction times of dams, having a base load consumer on site can be effective. By transferring electricity supplied to the data center to the grid within a second, the demand response time of the power plant can be dramatically improved. Additionally, the data center provides an alternative hedging option. In case of high water flow, there is a fixed consumer available to utilize excess capacity at a competitive price. As a result, the return on investments for hydro and geothermal power plants can be achieved in closer to 10 years, instead of the usual 20 years.
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