Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has contracted Acres Productive Technologies (APT) to implement the Vista Decision Support System for the operation of hydro facilities on the Columbia river in the US.

The system is installed on each of four hardware nodes, all located on BPA computer networks. Each node comprises a database server and an application server. Workstations that access the system are situated across the BPA networks.

The databases are replicated in real time. The software provides scheduling over both the long term (several months to one or more years) and over the short term (hourly, for one to two weeks). It is integrated with seven sources of BPA information – committed loads, forecasted prices, forecasted natural inflows, unit availability, SCADA data, transmission tie line limits and flow gauging data.

APT has enhanced Vista for this large-scale application. New features include: the ability to model subsystems and projects; new constraints on water levels, discharges and tailwater (including specific treatment of fishery issues); enhanced simulators in both long term and short term scheduling modules; new user interfaces to display binding and violating constraints; enhanced user interfaces and visualisation facilities; modules to represent the influence of Canada-USA treaties and grandfathered operating policies; and the separation of application engines from main code to enable self-standing application server use.

BPA, along with the US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and the US Army Corps of Engineers, controls operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System, comprising 29 hydro projects with a combined capacity of approximately 19,000MW. The projects comprise: Grand Coulee (6682MW) and Chief Joseph (2614MW) on the mid-Columbia; McNary (980MW), John Day (2160MW), the Dalles (1710MW) and Bonneville (1061MW) on the Lower Columbia; Hungry Horse (284MW), Libby (1575MW) and Albeni Falls (185MW) on the Upper Columbia; eight plants on the Willamette river and five on the Snake river.