With hydroelectric projects, water equates to energy. The more water that is released, the more power is produced. A benefit of hydro is that it is able to quickly adjust to increasing demands, disruption in supply from other sources of energy and to provide stability to other variable sources of power, like wind.
In hydro project operations, keeping a steady flow of water to meet the amount of power required for minimum daily demands is called “baseload operations.” Alternating the water flows to adjust power output as electrical demand fluctuates throughout the day is called “load following” or “peaking.”
Environmental studies and modeling are underway to determine the balance between the need for power and environmental constraints.
The powerhouse will be located immediately downstream of the dam site and will house three generating units, each with an installed capacity of 153 megawatts (MW), at intermediate pool, for a total capacity of 459 MW. The exact sizing may change as a result of further transmission system studies.
The average annual energy from Susitna-Watana Hydro will be 2,800,000 megawatt hours (MWh). The powerhouse will be designed and constructed with an extra empty generating unit bay for the potential installation of a fourth unit in the future.