Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new $8.5 million funding opportunity to improve the operational flexibility of the U.S. hydropower fleet. Under this solicitation, DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) will fund up to six awards to advance  hydropower technologies to enhance grid reliability.

As the U.S. grid evolves and integrates more variable sources like wind and solar, hydropower will need to adapt to changing grid conditions and support the reliability and resiliency of the grid. By increasing hydropower’s ability to operate flexibly and support intermittent energy sources, solutions funded by this solicitation support the Biden Administration’s goal of a decarbonized power sector by 2035.

“Renewable energy resources have the potential to help us achieve important decarbonization goals, and these resources are most powerful when working together,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “As we deploy more wind and solar into our power system, we’ll need to efficiently leverage resources–like hydropower–to store energy and operate flexibly to ensure a reliable and resilient grid.”

Innovations developed under this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will support WPTO’s HydroWIRES Initiative, which seeks to understand, enable, and improve hydropower and pumped storage hydropower’s contributions to reliability, resilience, and integration in the rapidly evolving U.S. electricity system.

WPTO will award multiple financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements, which may include technology testing and demonstration. The estimated period of performance for each award will be up to three years.

WPTO encourages collaboration and diverse partnerships to maximize the impact of work performed under this FOA. Underserved communities and underrepresented groups are also encouraged to participate. Applicants are highly encouraged to include individuals from groups historically underrepresented in STEM on their project teams.

Please refer to the full FOA for additional information.