The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) today published a notice of intent to issue a $9.5 million funding opportunity to advance hydropower’s flexibility. WPTO expects to release this funding opportunity in fall 2023.
Hydropower currently accounts for 28.7% of total U.S. renewable electricity generation and about 6.2% of total U.S. electricity generation. Hydropower is a flexible resource, meaning it can supply electricity immediately or store it to meet real-time demand. By enhancing these abilities, this investment aims to strengthen hydropower’s ability to support an electricity grid with an increasing amount of variable renewable energy sources like solar power and wind energy.
The proposed opportunity is expected to fund projects in three topic areas focused on:
Hybridized Hydropower Demonstration: This topic area seeks to demonstrate hydropower hybrid configurations, such as a hydropower facility paired with another type of generation or with an energy storage resource. These configurations can result in benefits such as enhanced services to the electricity grid, less equipment wear-and-tear, and reduced environmental impacts from changing water flows.
Technologies to Increase Flexibility: This topic area seeks technology innovations to improve the flexible capabilities of the U.S. hydropower fleet. Solutions could include innovations in turbines and other hardware.
Operational Flexibility: This topic area seeks to quantify the flexible capabilities of hydropower and advance operational strategies to increase such flexibility to better serve an evolving electricity grid.
The full notice of intent is available on the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Funding Opportunity Exchange.