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Part 2: Gaining Clarity Through Visualization: Empowering Collaboration in Hydro Teams

In the first part of this series, we dive into how machine learning is applied to big data sets to create insights. But how do we transform this insight into actionable steps you can take in real-time?

When it comes to smart hydro optimization, data visualization can turn complex data sets into clear, actionable insights by filtering, smoothing, and displaying information efficiently. Moreover, advanced digital tools can adjust the granularity of data—from hourly details to yearly trends— enabling a dynamic view that guides strategic planning.

This second step isn’t just about seeing data; it’s about interacting with it, editing, and sharing insights across teams seamlessly, and reaching decisions faster, more intuitively and less prone to error.

Breaking Down Barriers: The Power of Transparency

The key benefit of this approach is the integration of data gathered across the hydro into a single collaborative and intuitive visual that documents decisions at all levels in the organization, and is accessible to all stakeholders. Enhanced by inflow and price forecasting, and featuring a production plan extending up to one year into the future, this view is designed to deliver this information intuitively. This transparency not only breaks down silos within teams but also aligns everyone towards a unified goal—optimized energy production.

Forecasting the Future: Between Minute Detail and Bird’s Eye View

Leveraging machine learning, we process live telemetry and weather data to forecast inflows—from the next hour up to 12 months ahead. This constant stream of updated forecasts forms the bedrock of our production planning. It allows operators to adapt swiftly to the ever-changing conditions, optimize storage and water use in day-ahead markets, and prepare for evolving seasonal trends. Visualization is particularly important here, because the same production planning graph can be used as a tool for intra-day trading and, for example, flood and drought prevention tool, when the time horizon and data granularity are adjusted.

Visualization can also be used for scenario testing. Any change logged in HYDROGRID Insight will instantly be reflected in the applied production planning and on the visualization tool. Production planning and forecasted reservoir levels also update, allowing operators to model different strategies before committing to the ideal one.

Lastly, visualization includes price variables as well, so production planning can be driven both by water management and energy trading factors. Through integration of energy price forecasts into our models, operators can plan for tomorrow but also strategize for the year ahead, ensuring that every decision maximizes value and supports sustainable resource management.

A Unified Vision: Collaborative and Intuitive Decision-Making

Because different teams will need different tools for water management, we have developed a comprehensive suite that draws on information gathered from all teams to provide each specialist with the insight they need, from water value, to maintenance planning and restriction management.

The true power of our approach lies in providing all teams with a single-sorce-of-truth. By funneling all operational data, environmental regulations, and market dynamics into a single, intuitive dashboard, we create a collaborative space that supports informed decision-making at all levels, and across organizations of all sizes.

Accessible to all stakeholders, this visual tool not only tracks immediate metrics but also extends vision, helping wider teams plan with precision and foresight, without the need for frequent sync meetings. Enhanced by inflow and price forecasting, and projecting up to a year into the future, our dashboard is more than a tool—it’s a roadmap to smarter, more sustainable hydropower management.

How Do We Do It?

The journey from raw data to insightful dashboards involves filtering trends out of tens of thousands of data points, and displaying them in a way that allows you to draw connections. In ‘HYDROGRID Insight’, the automatic transmission of telemetry from each operational reservoir and control units (gates, turbines) to the system is best done through an Application Programming Interface (API) connection. Each droplet of data then feeds into an automated model, calibrated to match the operational and physical realities of each hydropower plant (read more about our models here). The processed telemetry is then presented as a real-time status update of plant metrics, including reservoir levels and actual production figures.

To enhance outputs for production planning and deliver insight on long-term planning, energy price forecast data is also factored in, augmenting the existing datasets for the computation of a ‘Water Value’. This calculated value is strategically utilized to dispatch existing flexibility exclusively when the potential for maximizing value is identified, and to project production planning up to one year into the future.

Last but not least, all operational and environmental restrictions and regulations, as well as manual outages and maintenance windows are fed to the algorithm as well, to be factored in for optimization.

Stay tuned for the last part of this series, on strategic planning with AI, to learn how you can improve your hydro operations through the help of digitalization!

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