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Hydropower is the United States’ oldest source of renewable electricity, comprising nearly 7% of U.S. generation. In 2018, hydropower accounted for roughly 40% of U.S. renewable electricity generation, while pumped storage hydropower remains the largest contributor to U.S. energy storage with an installed capacity of 21.6 GW, or roughly 95% of all commercial storage capacity in the United States.

To achieve the mission and realize the vision of the Hydropower Program, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) has identified five core R&D activity areas: 

1) Innovations for Low-Impact Hydropower Growth

2) Grid Reliability, Resilience, Integration, & Storage (HydroWIRES)

3) Fleet Modernization, Maintenance, & Cybersecurity

4) Environmental & Hydrologic Systems Science

5) Data Access & Analytics.

Through the revised hydropower strategy, WPTO aims to clearly communicate the rationale for and organization of possible DOE-supported hydropower R&D from now to 2030.

Hydropower Featured Work

View of a hydropower facility and river at sunset.

HydroWIRES aims to understand, enable, and improve hydropower’s contributions to reliability, resilience, and integration in the rapidly evolving U.S. electricity system. 

water flowing at dusk.

Hydropower Vision is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive analysis to evaluate future pathways for low-carbon, renewable hydropower in the United States.

News

Federal Agencies Sign New Hydropower MOU, Develop Action Plan
On National Hydropower Day 2020 (Aug. 24), the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed an MOU.
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WPTO Celebrates National STEM Day
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, commonly known as STEM, are the essential building blocks to accomplishing WPTO's mission.
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Removing the Element of Surprise: Ocean Observing Prize Solicits Designs for Tomorrow’s Storm Tracking Technology
DOE and NOAA announce the opening of Ocean Observing Prize's DEVELOP Competition to better understand how to forecast hurricanes.
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DOE Launches Partnership Initiative to Strengthen Remote and Islanded Communities’ Energy Resilience
DOE launches new program to enable remote and islanded communities to plan for, withstand, and recover from energy disruptions.
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U.S. Department of Energy Announces Notice of Opportunity for Technical Assistance to Support Hydropower Decision Making
This opportunity will provide hydropower decision makers with National Lab expertise and capabilities to address current challenges.
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DOE Selects Grand Prize Winners of the Fish Protection Prize and Announces Deadlines for Two Additional Hydropower Prizes
Projects aim to protect fish from unsafe water infrastructure, including water diversions and pipes, and intakes at hydropower dams.
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Federal Agencies Sign New Hydropower MOU
DOE joins other federal agencies on National Hydropower Day at Hoover Dam to sign new MOU aimed at increasing hydropower generation and flexibility
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Energy Department Launches New Hydro Power Prize; Announces Fish Protection Prize Stage I Winners
Assistant Secretary Daniel Simmons announces launch of the new I AM Hydro Prize and Fish Protection Prize Stage I Winners.
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Four New Projects Selected in Latest Round of the Technology Commercialization Fund
DOE's Office of Technology Transitions announced the 2020 selections in the latest round of the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF).
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World Oceans Day: Celebrating the Role and Promise Oceans Have in Our Everyday Lives
World Oceans Day is a global effort to celebrate the ocean's resources, while reminding us to protect it for future generations.
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