The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), and the Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) released a Request for Information (RFI) to seek stakeholder input on factors to consider in relation to defining "an area where there is inadequate electric service," which will inform future eligibility criteria for WPTO's Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program.
"Through this RFI, the U.S. Department of Energy seeks input from different community perspectives on what they consider to be 'inadequate electric service' to help us determine how to support clean, hydroelectric power serving areas where access to energy is often unreliable or expensive," said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman
Section 242 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Pub. L. No. 109-58) established an incentive payment program to benefit owners of qualified hydroelectric facilities who add electrical generation equipment to existing dams. Section 3005 of the Energy Act of 2020 (Pub. L. 116-260) then amended Section 242 by expanding the definition of a qualified hydroelectric facility to include certain facilities "constructed in an area in which there is inadequate electric service," which requires the Secretary to take into consideration (a) access to the electric grid; (b) the frequency of electric outages; or (c) the affordability of electricity.
Because there is no widely adopted definition for these terms, this RFI seeks information from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders on factors that should be considered in enhancing WPTO's proposed definition as follows:
"An area in which there is inadequate electric service means a geographic area that lacks access to an interconnected electrical grid or where a customer may not reasonably access electrical energy services; is subject to frequent electric outages, based on common reliability metrics; or where the cost of electricity is significantly above the typical residential electricity cost."
Defining this term will allow the Section 242 Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program to be executed, and increase access to clean, hydroelectric power to U.S. citizens in communities with inadequate electric services. This may include rural, remote, and underserved communities.
Responses are due September 7, 2021, by 11:59 p.m. ET.
View the full RFI on Energy Exchange.