In addition to more traditional funding opportunity announcements, HydroWIRES has developed and piloted a “quick win” mechanism enabling National Laboratories to propose new research ideas in an ad-hoc fashion as opportunities arise, rather than relying solely on pre-planned solicitations, which are often timed according to the fiscal year. Quick wins are generally smaller-budget projects (e.g., <$100k) and are envisioned to serve both as one-off, low-hanging fruit that can add immediate value, or as seeds for potential larger areas of future research.

DOE or National Laboratory team members propose ideas for quick wins, which the HydroWIRES team discusses to provide technical feedback and to identify connecting points with other work across the labs. If the team agrees that the concept would provide high value and support the mission of HydroWIRES or broader DOE efforts, the proposer develops a short scope and budget level, and work can proceed immediately. Funding is reserved for quick wins throughout the year, enabling a more flexible approach than with funding for large, pre-planned projects.

Examples of past and ongoing quick wins include:

  • Organizing a production cost modeling technical workshop with owner/operators, model vendors, and other stakeholders to improve representation of hydropower.
  • A multi-lab effort to use existing state-of-the-art models to inform the Western Electricity Coordinating Council’s representation of hydropower resources in their territory.
  • Work with Portland General Electric to characterize different modes of flexible operation currently being used in their plants.
  • Planning a technical workshop with the Northwest Hydropower Association to solicit industry feedback on HydroWIRES projects.
  • Investigation of PSH development and financing in other countries, including case studies of several examples that could offer lessons for the United States.

Learn more about WPTO funding opportunities.