Selection Date

  • 04/08/2021

Prize Objective

The Groundbreaking Hydro Prize solicited solutions to address key challenges faced in one or more of the three foundation development phases for small hydropower:

  • Geotechnical Site Assessment: Activities performed to obtain information needed to design and construct a hydropower foundation system
  • Foundation Design: Process of using information from the site assessment to perform analyses and develop a cost-effective foundation system that meets the project design criteria
  • Foundation Construction: Activities performed by the contractor, from mobilization through project commissioning, to fully develop the foundation system


The prize was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (NREL), to incentivize innovators to develop concepts to cut costs and project delays associated with small-hydropower-project development.

EERE Selections

Funding Awardees

Two teams were chosen as winners: A Groundbreaking Prize winner, receiving $50,000, and an Innovator Prize winner, receiving $25,000.

  • Groundbreaking Prize
    • Team: GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. and Littoral Power Systems, Terra-Modular Project 
    • Concept: Prefabrication of a modular hydropower foundation for a wide range of soils and substructures.
  • Innovator Prize
    • Team: Team Chemventive, WaterJet Drill With a Deep Array of Anchor Cables Concept 
    • Concept: Deep array of high-tension cables drilled through solid rock, using a water-jet drilling robot, to secure a steel dam in tension.