The mission of the HydroWIRES (Water Innovation for a Resilient Electricity System) Initiative is to understand, enable, and improve hydropower’s contributions to reliability, resilience, and integration in the rapidly evolving U.S. electricity system. Covering all grid reliability, resilience, and grid integration within WPTO’s hydropower portfolio, work conducted under HydroWIRES is organized under four interrelated research areas:

1) Value under Evolving System Conditions

2) Capabilities and Constraints

3) Operations and Planning

4) Technology Innovation.

While WPTO has historically focused on technology solutions to drive down the cost of hydropower development and support the expansion of the sector, HydroWIRES adds a complementary focus on hydropower’s role as an integrator of variable renewables. The central hypothesis of HydroWIRES is that, as the electricity system undergoes rapid changes, the U.S. hydropower fleet is well-positioned to take on this new role by offering:

  • Additional value streams
  • Enhanced flexibility
  • New operational strategies
  • Innovative technology solutions.

WPTO works closely with a group of DOE National Laboratory researchers to both plan and implement projects under each research area to address hydropower industry challenges. To learn more about plans for future HydroWIRES research, read the HydroWIRES Initiative Research Roadmap.


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Energy Storage Grand Challenge

HydroWIRES is one of a number of different initiatives and programs that form part of the recently developed Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC). The ESGC is a comprehensive program developed by staff from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Electricity, Office of Technology Transitions, Office of Science, as well as from the National Laboratories. Designed to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage technologies and to sustain American global leadership in energy storage, the challenge currently has a draft roadmap and request for information open for public comment.

Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI)

HydroWIRES operates in conjunction with GMI, which focuses on the development of new architectural concepts, tools, and technologies that measure, analyze, predict, protect, and control the grid of the future, and on enabling the institutional conditions that allow for quicker development and widespread adoption of these tools and technologies.

International Forum on Pumped Storage Hydropower

The International Forum on Pumped Storage Hydropower is a government-led, multistakeholder initiative that aims to shape the role of the world's “water batteries” in future power systems. The forum was convened to develop solutions and transfer best practices and experience at the international scale with a mission of delivering sustainable, affordable, and reliable power while making contributions to climate mitigation goals.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Norway’s Royal Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (OED)

DOE’s MOU with OED brings together WPTO and the Norwegian Research Centre for Hydropower Technology (HydroCen) to plan and coordinate hydropower R&D activities; develop, share, and implement results; increase understanding of hydropower’s role in the future energy mix; and provide input to international discussions regarding hydropower. Hydropower faces similar challenges and opportunities in the United States and Norway, and both countries are committed to enabling hydropower to support their respective electricity systems.

Collaborative R&D under this MOU may include:

  • Markets and Value;
  • Hydropower plant Capabilities and Constraints;
  • Monitoring and Control Technologies;
  • Environmental Design Solutions;
  • Environmental Impacts and Tradeoffs;
  • Flexible Operations and Planning; and
  • Technology Innovation

HydroWIRES News & Updates