Services Rendered:

EFDC Hydrodynamic Model

Environmental Impacts

Real-time Modeling

Technical Training


Alabama Power Company


Jon Ponstein

Dates of Performance:

Ongoing (2015)

DSI developed a real-time three dimensional hydrothermal model for Coosa River, AL, between Logan Martin Dam and Lay Dam using Environmental Fluid Dynamics Code (EFDC) and pre/post processor EFDC_Explorer (EE). The model’s external forcing factors include flow releases from Logan Martin and Lay Dam, flows from tributaries, power plant withdrawal and temperature rise, and atmospheric conditions. The real-time model was calibrated against the field measurements of flows, water level, and water temperature. The model was developed to serve as a decision-making tool for Alabama Power Company (APC) electricity generation and assist in efficient operation of Logan Martin, Lay and Plant Gaston in order to meet generation needs while staying in thermal compliance at the monitoring buoy below Gaston. An online web interface was designed to visualize the results of the real-time EFDC model and provide quantitative comparisons to the thermal standard to help in real-time decision making. The web interface allows users to perform various scenario analyses that help to understand the possible changes in the water temperature in the waterbody under different environmental scenarios… A study was made of the past two years of results of the real-time model using the forecasted values compared to measure data. It was found that the model forecast accuracy decreased by approximately 0.25 °F per day, on average. It takes less than two hours to run the 7-day scenario. The real-time prediction system utilizes several PCs allowing up to six forecast scenarios to be simultaneously run without degredation of performance. OpenMP is also utilized in the EFDC model to allow for more efficient model runs. The real-time model and forecasting system has been used to investigate the effects of different release scenarios at Logan Martin and Lay Dams on the hydrodynamic and thermal characteristics of Lay Lake. This system has an array of features for managing real-time data, analyzing real-time model performance, building operational scenarios, and forecasting operational impacts. It has been demonstrated to be powerful tool for efficient management of unit loads and dam releases. This system helps provide best practice for the operation of Logan Martin Dam, Lay Dam and Gaston Steam Plant to meet power generation needs while staying in compliance with regulatory requirements.