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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
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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WPTO Announces $4.4 Million for Phase I Small Business Innovation Projects
Small businesses are receiving Phase I Release 2 grants for innovations that demonstrate technical feasibility during the first phase of research.
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New Round of Hydroelectric Incentive Funding Now Available
The Water Power Technologies Office is now accepting applications for $7 million in the latest round of funding under section 242 of EPACT.
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WPTO Issues RFI for Hydropower Program R&D Strategy and HydroWIRES Research Roadmap
WPTO is releasing an RFI to gain feedback for the Hydropower Program R&D strategy and the research roadmap for HydroWIRES initiative.
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Celebrating Earth Day at WPTO: R&D to Protect Our River and Marine Environments
This Earth Day, we highlight WPTO successes supporting R&D and testing of marine energy, hydropower, and pumped storage systems for a flexible grid.
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Prizes Powered by the Ocean
Last fall I participated in the White House Summit on Ocean Science and Technology, where leaders discussed advancing ocean energy technologies.
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Recipients Selected for FY2019 Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program
DOE selects 48 recipients for the $6.6 million FY2019 round of funding.
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