On September 6, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy announced seven projects selected through this funding opportunity.

Office: Water Power Technologies Office
FOA number: DE-FOA-0002731
Link to apply: Apply on EERE Exchange
FOA Amount: $14.5 million

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) issued a $14.5 million funding opportunity to further the sustainable development of hydropower and pumped storage hydropower (PSH). Advancing technologies to expand the hydropower and PSH fleet will enable increased deployments of other sources of renewable generation to support the goals of a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 and a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050.

Hydropower currently accounts for 31.5% of U.S. renewable electricity generation and about 6.3% of total U.S. electricity generation. Meanwhile, PSH accounts for 93% of U.S. utility-scale energy storage

This funding opportunity seeks applications to encourage:

  • Innovative solutions to retrofit non-powered dams with environmentally sustainable hydropower at a reasonable cost.  
  • Development and testing of technologies that mitigate challenges to PSH deployment, including market and revenue uncertainty, development costs and financing, long development timelines, permitting challenges, construction risks, and environmental impacts.
  • Emerging organizations to support hydropower research and development.

This funding opportunity and any related activities will seek to encourage meaningful engagement and participation of workforce organizations, including labor unions, as well as underserved communities and underrepresented groups, including consultation with tribal nations. This funding opportunity is also designed to help meet the goal that 40% of the benefits of the administration’s investments in clean energy and climate solutions be delivered to disadvantaged communities.

DOE anticipates making up to 13 awards under this funding opportunity.

WPTO will host an informational webinar at 3:30 p.m. ET on November 1, 2022, to discuss the funding opportunity and areas of focus. Register for the webinar.

Topic Area 1: Hydropower Retrofits for Non-Powered Dams

This topic area seeks applications to support studies and designs that facilitate the licensing, construction, and commissioning for retrofits to non-powered dams. Proposed retrofits should advance the state of the industry by providing novel and advanced methods of power production, construction, intake design, and interconnections to the larger power grid. The overall goal of this effort will support the broad decarbonization of the larger power system.

Topic Area 2: Innovative Pumped Storage Hydropower Technologies

This topic area seeks applications to advance development and testing for innovative technologies that could accelerate the deployment of PSH. Innovations developed under this topic will be supported by WPTO’s HydroWIRES Initiative, which seeks to understand, enable, and improve hydropower’s and PSH’s contributions to reliability, resilience, and integration in the rapidly evolving U.S. electricity system. Broadly, this topic will support work that de-risks PSH components, construction processes, and/or alternative PSH configurations that could reduce costs and/or improve value. Ideally, awardees would have the necessary analysis to finance and permit a demonstration of their technology following the completion of this award.

Topic Area 3: Hydropower R&D by Emerging Organizations

This topic area seeks to support hydropower-related R&D that is not covered in other topic areas in this funding opportunity and helps to meet one or more of the outcomes described in WPTO’s Multi-Year Program Plan related to the Hydropower Program.

Key Dates

FOA Issue Date: 

Oct. 19, 2022

Informational Webinar:  

Nov. 1, 2022

Submission Deadline for Concept Papers: 

Dec. 1, 2022, 5 p.m. ET

Submission Deadline for Full Applications: 

March 6, 2023, 5 p.m. ET

Expected Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments:

May 10, 2023, 5 p.m. ET

Expected Date for DOE Selection Notifications: 

July 2023

Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations: 

October 2023

Additional Information