To main content

Hydropower production planning

Hydropower systems must be operated in a cost-effective and sustainable way. At SINTEF, we have cutting-edge expertise in hydropower production planning. We develop and operate decision support tools that are used by hydropower producers in Europe and the Nordic region. Our models cover short (1-2 weeks), medium (1-2 years) and long (3-5 years) time horizons and help hydropower producers get the most value from their water resources. Our modelling toolbox can be adapted for use in different market areas, and provide support for market participation as well as optimal production scheduling of power and other related products.

Efficient hydropower production scheduling creates value

Efficient operation of systems that use natural energy resources, such as hydropower installations, is essential for value creation for both the power sector and other industries that benefit from a cost-effective and secure power supply.  

Hydropower systems are complex, physical systems that are connected both geographically and in time. The production system for hydropower consists of cascaded river systems that cover large areas and reservoirs that can store water for several years. This means that there are many elements that need to be taken into consideration to ensure the efficient and sustainable operation of hydropower systems.

In addition, hydropower is traded in complex power markets that covers energy and various other products (balancing power and system services). The time resolution of these markets is also expected to increase in the near future. Hydropower operators therefore require tools that can support their decisions to ensure that they always get the most value from the water resources available in the reservoirs. We have designed our models to do just this.

Tools for hydropower production planning

SINTEF is developing a number of models to optimise hydropower production planning. These models range from market modelings, power system analyses and long-term scheduling (EMPS) to managing hydropower reservoirs over seasons and years (ProdRisk), and planning daily market participation and efficient operation (SHOP). Most Nordic hydropower producers take advantage of the entire hierarchy of models in order to ensure efficient operation of their installations.

The models cover different time horizons, geographical scope and level of detail, but are all part of the same framework, where results from long-term planning models are used as boundary conditions for models with shorter time horizons. The models are based on physical and technical descriptions of the production system, where more details are included as the hour of operation approaches. Local environmental restrictions are also included to ensure that the production plans respect the local eco-systems in and around the regulated rivers while still utilizing the water resources in the most efficient way.

If you are interested in learning more about the models, we recommend the following pages:

We work with the following topics:

  • Fundamental market modelling
  • Seasonal scheduling
  • Short-term scheduling
  • Participation in multiple markets
  • Environmental design

Our typical projects include:

  • Developing research-based hydropower scheduling models
  • Providing support for setting up scheduling tools and processes
  • Analysing the value of participation in multiple markets
  • Conducting investment analyses based on optimal operation
  • Digitalising the scheudling process

Who do we do this for?

  • Hydropower producers
  • Power system operators
  • Regulators
  • Public sector agencies

Explore research areas

Contact person


The stochastic short-term model SHARM

The stochastic short-term model SHARM


The goal of the "Validation of the SHARM model" project is to facilitate implementation of the SHARM (Short-term Hydropower Application with Risk Modelling) model in the hydropower industry.

Models for Aggregation and Disaggregation - MAD

Models for Aggregation and Disaggregation - MAD


The players in the Nordic power market, i.e. producers, transmission system operators and regulators use computer models to plan for the best possible utilization of the system and energy resources. Calculation of the operation strategy for hydro...