IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy, 2021
The sustainable utilization of hydro energy relies on accurate estimates of the opportunity cost of the water. This value is calculated through long-term hydrothermal dispatch problems (LTHDP), and the recent literature has raised awareness about the consequences of modeling simplifications in these problems. The inaccurate representation of Kirchhoff’s voltage law under the premise of a DC power flow is an example. Under a non-linear AC model, however, the LTHDP becomes intractable, and the literature lacks an accurate evaluation method of different modeling alternatives. In this paper, we extend the state-of-the-art cost-assessment framework of network approximations for LTHDP and bring relevant and practical new insights. First, we increase the quality of the assessment by using an AC power flow to simulate and compare the performance of five policies based on different network approximations. Second, we find that the tightest network relaxation (based on semidefinite programming) is not the one exhibiting the best performance. Results show that the DC power flow with quadratic losses approximation exhibits the lowest expected cost and inconsistency gaps. Finally, its computational burden is lower than that exhibited by the semidefinite relaxation, whereas market distortions are significantly reduced in comparison to previously published benchmarks based on DC power flow.