Small Water Power Businesses Team Up with National Labs

April 20, 2017

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The Small Business Voucher Pilot program logo

The Energy Department's Small Business Vouchers (SBV) Pilot program gives our nation's clean-tech small businesses the opportunity to take their innovative products to the next level. By supporting their growth, the United States helps these companies make a more meaningful impact on the economy and clean-energy sector. Four water power companies were selected for Round 3 of the Pilot.

Telluride Energy of Colorado is partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to design a geospatial hydropower resource assessment method focusing on small-hydropower opportunities at non-powered dams (NPDs) near water treatment plants. With more than 80,000 dams without power-generation equipment across the United States, Telluride Energy’s work can build off of a 2012 Energy Department study identifying potential for 12,000 MW of new hydropower at NPDs.

Natel Energy, Inc. of California is partnering with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to model and evaluate a portfolio of networked small hydropower generators. The project is designed to further understand the value of small-hydropower generation on the grid. For decades, large-scale hydropower has played an essential role to the grid by providing flexibility and support to the integration of additional clean energy resources.

California Wave Power Technologies, LLC (CalWave) of California is partnering with Sandia National Laboratories to advance wave energy converter (WEC) technologies by broadening device controls beyond the power take-off system. Calwave was first runner-up in the Wave Energy Prize, an 18-month design-build-test competition that produced a technology leap in WEC devices.

M3 Wave of Oregon is partnering with NREL and Sandia National Laboratories to model and characterize the increase in power production seen in their Wave Energy Prize WEC. M3 Wave aims to increase annual energy production and reduce capital cost, thereby improving levelized cost of energy—a measure of a power source used to compare methods of electricity generation.

The SBV Pilot provides U.S. small businesses with unparalleled access to the expertise and facilities of its national laboratories. Over three rounds, DOE will provide up to $20 million to support approximately 100 small businesses by issuing national lab vouchers valued between $50,000 and $300,000 per company.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.