Water Power News & Events

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Below are news updates about hydropower and marine energy technologies that are highlighted on the Water Power Technologies Office homepage. This page features information from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Water Power Technologies Office, and other federal agencies.

Department of Energy Challenges Innovators to Harness the Power of the Oceans
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced developments in two new prizes.
View Article

A New Way to Modernize Irrigation Infrastructure and Generate Renewable Energy

The modernization of irrigation and water infrastructure presents agricultural, environmental, economic, social, and energy benefits.


Apply Now: Marine and Hydrokinetic Graduate Student Research Program

Applications are now open through December 9, 2019.

Energy Department Announces the Grand Prize Winners of the FAST Prize Competition

Finalists of the FAST Prize competition demonstrate innovative ways to accelerate commissioning times and reduce cost for pumped-storage hydropower.

Powering the Blue Economy™ Ocean Observing Prize: DISCOVER Competition Webinar
December 13, 2019 | 12:00PM EST 

NREL hosts an informational webinar about the Ocean Observing Prize

February 3, 2020 | 8:00AM PST

Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC), and Oregon State University (OSU) will host an integrated WEC design workshop at Oregon State University. 

Waves to Water: DESIGN Stage Webinar
December 13, 2019 | 2:00PM EST 

NREL hosts an informational webinar about the opening of the Waves to Water Prize Stage 2 - DESIGN competition. 


May 19-21, 2020 | Washington, DC.

The International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) is a global marine energy event focused on the industrial development of renewable marine energy.

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Current Issue

October 2019

FAST Prize Concept Stage Winners Announced

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) selected four grand prize winners of the Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) Commissioning for Pumped-Storage Hydropower (PSH) Prize competition, part of the American-Made Challenges series. The FAST Prize competition solicited ideas for reducing the time to commission PSH through development of innovative design, new layouts, creative construction management, improved construction equipment, application of advanced manufacturing, or standardization of equipment.

The grand prize winners were selected from the nine concept stage winners at a Pitch Day event held on October 7, 2019 in Alexandria, Virginia. The finalists presented their concepts in front of an audience of investors, industry representatives, and other experts. The winners received up to $550,000 in vouchers and cash prizes.

Due Soon: International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) Abstracts

ICOE is accepting abstracts for next year’s conference through November 15, 2019 EDT. Five topic areas have been identified to focus attention on specific areas of interest, they are:

  • International Developer and Technology Showcase
  • The Future of Our Oceans and Ocean Energy’s Potential to Power the Blue Economy
  • Foundational and Cross‐Cutting Research and Development
  • Enabling the Long‐term Evolution of Ocean Energy Industries
  • How Do We Get There? Securing Funding, Supportive Policies, and Regulatory Acceptance

ICOE 2020 will be held at the Marriott Marquis May 19–21, 2020 in Washington, DC, and the theme is “Energizing a Powerful Blue Economy.” Expanding demand for ocean-derived food, materials, energy, and knowledge is driving rapid growth in the emerging blue economy across the globe. This event is supported by Ocean Energy Systems (OES), an intergovernmental collaboration which operates under a framework established by the International Energy Agency.

Timelapse Video: Wave Buoy

Earlier this month, the WPTO-funded Ocean Energy buoy left the Vigor shipyard in Portland, Oregon to be towed to the U.S. Navy Wave Energy Test Site off the coast of O’ahu, in Hawaii, for testing. Watch the load out of the 826-ton buoy captured in this timelapse video.

Apply Now: Marine and Hydrokinetic Graduate Student Research Program

Applications are now open through December 9, 2019 for the newly established Marine and Hydrokinetic Graduate Student Research Program. Administered by WPTO and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), the program is open to full-time doctoral students with a research thesis and/or dissertation at a U.S. institution. The program is designed to advance the graduate student’s overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at DOE offices, National Laboratories, industry, and other approved facilities where the participant will conduct part of their research. Learn more about the details of the program here.

WPTO Staff to Attend Annual SBIR/STTR PI Meeting

From October 29-30, 2019, WPTO staff will meet with awardees from the recently released Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 2 round of awards. Day one will provide a platform for presentations from industry representatives, the National Laboratories, and from DOE. WPTO’s Energy Technology Program Specialist Jennifer Garson will present on the role of prizes and other commercialization mechanisms available to SBIR awardees. Day two will have a series of one-on-one meetings between awardees and the DOE commercialization assistance provider, Larta, DOE SBIR/STTR managers, and SBIR managers from other government agencies and business professionals.

Los Angeles Times: Alaskan Village Hopes to Replace Fossil Fuel with Water Power

The Los Angeles Times featured an Energy Department-funded hydrokinetic system designed for rivers and shallow tidal waters to help power remote communities. On July 17, 2019, ORPC’s commercial RivGen® Power System was launched in partnership with the Igiugig Village Council on the banks of the Kvichak River in Alaska.

PNNL Researcher Sheds Light on Whooshh’s Salmon Cannon

With the recent upsurge in social media surrounding the Salmon Cannon, Wired Magazine sought an expert to explain a few of the most salient details behind the technology and how it can help to improve the environmental performance of hydropower facilities in the United States. See here for Wired Magazine’s in-depth interview with Pacific Northwest National Laboratories’ Alison Colotelo.