Experts speak: Hydropower Plant Modernisation Challenges in the Energy Sector

Hydropower has a long history; in the second half of the 20th century- a large number of hydropower plants were installed across Western Europe, North America, the erstwhile Soviet Union, China and India. Although many of those plants are ageing, close to 500 GW in hydropower capacity was installed worldwide between 2000 and 2017. Modernization of the ageing assets is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry.

We asked the experts from our speaker panel at the 2nd Hydropower Plant Modernisation & Optimisation about the biggest challenges of hydropower plant optimisation to improve production efficiency and flexibility and to facilitate the energy transition.


Danilo Laban fortum


Due to declining frequency quality, higher demands are being placed on units providing frequency regulation services in the Nordic Power System. Improvements of the existing units are needed to enable a quicker response and secure the stability of the power system in the future. Adding fast and precise energy storage to hydropower plants results in better performance and less mechanical wear and tear, but also opens up an exciting new area of research and development in how to build up these hybrid power plants.”

Danilo Laban – Business Developer, Fortum, Sweden

Teis Pedersen, Statkraft

“With the increased amount of non-flexible power production from wind and solar; the value of flexible hydro power assets is increasing. Our aging hydropower fleet was not designed for intermittent operations with daily multiple starts and stops and tough frequency regulations – needed to satisfy new market requirements, ancillary services, and grid regulation. Intermittent operations have an impact of the lifetime of our generating units, and we are using measurements and analyses to predict the remaining lifetime and timing of rehabilitation”

Teis Pedersen – Senior Mechanical Engineer, Statkraft, Norway
Matthias Hummer, Uniper


The digital transformation is one of the biggest game-changer for the operation of hydropower plants because it influences the maintenance strategy, the operational reliability, the operational flexibility and last but not least the economical future of the power plant itself.
Dr.-Ing. Matthias Humer – Head of the Team Metrology, Uniper Anlagenservice, Germany

Dispatchable Hydropower plants have an increasing contribution to theMarion Chotard, shem engie network balancing, which is priced in the energy market mechanisms.

These, especially the flexibility markets, are currently undergoing significant evolution, and with climate change, we also face a worsening of water availability.

In this context, how to make the most value out of the flexibility while satisfying the increasingly demanding constraints that stem from water multiple-use?

Marion Chotard, Chief Operating Officer, SHEM (Engie), France

Juliano Da Silva, Itaipu


“Digitalization in energy generation is extremely important for the electricity sector because, with the changes in the hydrological regime, it becomes necessary to optimize processes and energy generation to make better use of water resources. This is important today and will continue to be so for decades to come.”

Dr Juliano Ricardo da Silva – Manager of the Department of Electronic & Electromechanical Engineering, Itaipu Binacional, Brasil

The 2nd Hydropower Plant Modernisation & Optimisation will gather senior decision-makers from the hydroelectricity industry, namely hydropower generator companies, plant owners and operators, to discuss and benchmark best practices to gain efficiency through proper hydropower plant modernization.

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