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The Water Power Program conducts work in four key areas at the forefront of water power research. The Program is structured to help the United States meet its growing energy demands sustainably and cost-effectively by developing innovative renewable water power technologies, breaking down market barriers to deployment, building the infrastructure to test new technologies, and assessing water power resources for integration into our nation's grid.
- Introduce and advance new marine and hydrokinetic technologies to provide sustainable and cost-effective renewable energy from the nation's waves, tides, currents, and ocean thermal gradients.
- Research and develop innovative hydropower technologies through efforts such as the HydroNEXT initiative to sustainably tap our country's diverse water resources including rivers, non-powered dams, conduits and canals.
- Invest in pumped storage hydropower facilities to accelerate the deployment of the world's only commercially available utility-scale energy storage technology.
- Break down barriers to deployment through sound science that ensures the water power technologies we promote are sustainable and cost-effective.
- Develop and distribute the information developers need to obtain a permit or license to demonstrate their innovative new technologies.
- Demonstrate the ability of technologies like the Alden fish-friendly turbine to improve the environmental performance of hydropower.
- Revitalize the hydropower industry by investing in the scientists and engineers at our nation's universities that will shape the future clean energy economy
- Design and develop facilities where marine and hydrokinetic devices can be tested at scale and certified in a controlled environment before deployment.
- Develop centers of excellence and education at National Marine Renewable Energy Centers and through a university consortium to build the expertise and infrastructure necessary to make the United States a leader in water power. National Marine Renewable Energy Centers include:
- Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center co-located at Oregon State University, University of Washington, and University of Alaska Fairbanks
- Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center at the University of Hawaii
- Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic University
- Assess the potential to produce energy from our nation's waves, tides, river and ocean currents, non-powered dams, and new hydropower resources.
- Investigate hydropower's potential to integrate variable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power into the U.S. energy mix.
- Characterize hydropower's value beyond energy production by quantifying its contribution to the stability and flexibility of our nation's grid.