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Argonne National Lab

About Argonne National Laboratory

For the past 25 years, Argonne National Laboratory has been performing domestic and international hydropower analyses, including extensive hydropower systems analyses for both the Western Area Power Administration (Western) and the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation).

This includes numerous high-profile economic evaluations of hydropower resources at the Glen Canyon Dam, Flaming Gorge Dam, Aspinall Cascade, and others.


Argonne is currently working with the National Park Service, Reclamation, Western, the Grand Canyon Dam Research Monitoring and Research Center, American Indian Tribal governments and members of the Colorado River Energy Distributors in support of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Glen Canyon Dam (GCD). Decisions made through the GCD Long-Term Experimental and Management EIS will affect GCD power plant operations, power grid economics, electricity fee rates, and downstream flows and habits through Grand Canyon National Park for the next 20 years.

Argonne also builds hydropower models that are used not only for financial and economic EIS analyses but also as part of the daily business practice of Western's Central Valley Project (CVP) office to help optimize the marketing of its federal hydropower systems in California.

Internationally, Argonne has conducted hydropower projects in numerous countries around the world, providing analyses and technical assistance for projects sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Bank, the United States Energy Association, the Asian Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and others. Argonne has also worked with electric utilities and ministries of energy in many countries, as well as with large international consulting companies.


GTMax Model: The GTMax model has been extensively used in the U.S. and by numerous international organizations for economic analyzes of both hydropower and grid operations. GTMax was explicitly referenced by the World Bank, European Union, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a preferred tool for use in regional interconnection, electricity market analysis, and generation & transmission planning studies[1]. GTMax has been licensed and distributed by Adica Consulting to 39 organizations throughout the world.

CHEERS Model: The Conventional Hydropower Energy and Environmental Systems (CHEERS) model is Argonne's most recent and most detailed hydropower operations model. It is designed to optimize hydropower plant day-ahead scheduling and real-time unit operations. Its goal is to aid operators with decisions such as unit commitments and turbine-level operating points using a system-wide approach to increase hydropower efficiency and to enhance the value of power generation and ancillary services. CHEERS model development and demonstration is currently being supported by DOE/EERE's Wind and Water Power Technologies Office.