Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding for new national lab directed projects to advance the HydroWIRES (Water Innovation for a Resilient Electricity System) Initiative and help maximize hydropower’s contributions to a decarbonized, reliable, and resilient grid. The selected projects will create tools and products to support the industry’s decision-making abilities.

"As the United States deploys more variable renewable energy, hydropower will play a critical and evolving role in our power system," said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “The DOE national laboratories are well suited to provide the decision-making tools and analyses the industry needs to enable these resources to fully contribute to our clean energy future.”

DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) will award a total of $16 million across nine projects involving five national laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Idaho National Laboratory (INL), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). These projects will enable the U.S. hydropower community to more accurately model future water availability, evaluate opportunities for adding hydropower to non-powered dams, and understand how to operate hydropower to mitigate wildfires’ impacts to the power grid.

The awarded projects will address one of five topic areas:

  1. Lowering Barriers to Deployment of Hydropower Hybrids
  2. Developing Tools to Evaluate Environment-Flexibility Tradeoffs
  3. Improving Hydropower Representation in Power System Models
  4. Modelling Collaborations with Norway
  5. Open Topic

The selected projects will address the mission of the HydroWIRES Initiative to understand, enable, and improve hydropower’s contributions to reliability, resilience, and integration in the rapidly evolving U.S. electricity system. Information on the nine awarded projects, including project descriptions, can be found on WPTO’s website.

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