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Project ID

Full name

XFLEX – Hydropower Extending Power System Flexibility



Funding period:


EC contribution:

€15.1 million

Grant agreement no.:



Prof. Mario Paolone


The ultimate objective of the XFLEX project is to increase hydropower potential in terms of plant efficiency, availability and provision of flexibility services to the Electric Power System (EPS).

The high Renewable Energy Sources (RES) scenario of the decarbonisation process relies on a drastic change of the European Union EPS with a massive integration of non-dispatchable RES and disconnection of the so-called conventional units, as greenhouse gases emitters. These changes influence drastically the provision of the power grid balancing, and challenge the EPS operations and safety. It is of upmost importance to provide reliable solutions to support the EPS with more flexibility services. Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) already significantly supports EPS flexibility in terms of regulation capability, fast frequency control, fast start/stop, fast generating to pumping modes transition, high ramping rate, inertia emulation, fault ride through capacity, etc. XFLEX aims to demonstrate an innovative methodology for system integration of hydroelectric technology solutions, variable speed being a key component and a reference, to provide further enhanced flexibility services assessed by a crosscutting analysis of their impact on both the technology and the market aspects. Innovative solutions also target an optimize maintenance plan to decrease the outage time and increase the availability of the plant. Demonstrations are scheduled in the cases of run-of-river, storage and pumped storage HPPs and they cover cases of refurbished, uprated and especially existing HPP to be applied and scaled to any unit size. XFLEX draws the roadmap for the exploitation of its solutions to all the European HPP fleet. A strategic dissemination plan is set to promote the deployment of the demonstrated solutions to stakeholders, to the scientific community and the public and to further support the communication in workshops, conferences, scientific journals, newspapers and various social media.



Mario Paolone Coordinator