Office: Water Power Technologies Office 
FOA number: DE-FOA-0003103
Link to apply: Apply on EERE Exchange
FOA Amount: $9.5 million

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) today released a $9.5 million funding opportunity to increase hydropower’s flexibility, allowing it to better balance the variability of resources such as wind and solar on the power system.

Hydropower currently accounts for 28.7% of total U.S. renewable electricity generation and about 6.2% of total U.S. electricity generation. It can supply electricity immediately or store it to meet real-time demand. By enhancing these abilities, this investment helps strengthen hydropower’s ability to support an electric grid with an increasing amount of variable renewable energy resources as the United States works to meet its clean energy goals.

The opportunity will fund projects in three topic areas:

  1. Up to $4 million for projects that demonstrate hydropower hybrid configurations, such as a hydropower facility paired with another type of generation or with an energy storage resource.
  2. Up to $4 million for projects that advance technology innovations to improve the flexible capabilities of the U.S. hydropower fleet.
  3. Up to $1.5 million for projects that quantify the flexible capabilities of hydropower and advance operational strategies to increase such flexibility to better serve an evolving electric grid.  

Between four and seven awards are anticipated under the Strategies to Increase Hydropower Flexibility funding opportunity. Individual awards may vary between $750,000 and $4 million.

Updated concept paper deadline! Applicants must submit a concept paper by 5 p.m. ET on Feb. 9, 2024, to be eligible to submit a full application.

Webinar 

WPTO will host an informational webinar at 2:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 30, 2023, to discuss the funding opportunity and areas of focus. Register for the webinar.  

Learn more about this and other water power funding opportunities

Topic Areas

Topic Area 1: Hydropower Hybrids Demonstration

This topic will support demonstrations of hybridized hydropower operations in which hydropower is co-located and co-operated with at least one other non-hydropower generation or storage resource. This topic is motivated by industry insights and previous research suggesting that synergies between hydropower and other resource characteristics can expand capabilities to provide enhanced grid services, reduce machine wear-and-tear, and mitigate environmental impacts.

Topic Area 2: Technologies to Increase Flexibility

This topic will support testing of advanced hydropower components, which will tackle component-level constraints to a hydropower facility's flexibility. Motivated by industry discussions and targeted technical workshops with manufacturers, this topic builds on previous research to de-risk promising new technologies so they can progress toward widespread deployment.

Topic Area 3: Operational Flexibility

This topic supports development of operational strategies, model enhancements, and related tools that can allow individual plants or coordinated sets of plants (e.g., in cascading river systems) to increase their net flexibility. Informed by previous research by academics, national laboratories, and other research organizations, this topic will target projects that advance the state of the art while pursuing incorporation of these advancements into actual operational practice in the industry.

Key Dates

FOA Issue Date:Nov. 16, 2023
Informational Webinar:Nov. 30, 2023, 2:30 p.m. ET
Submission Deadline for Concept Papers:Feb. 9, 2024, 5 p.m. ET
Submission Deadline for Full Applications:May 17, 2024, 5 p.m. ET
Expected Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments:June 5, 2024, 5 p.m. ET
Expected Date for DOE Selection Notifications:August 2024
Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations:August–November 2024

Learn more about EERE’s funding opportunity application process.

Additional Information