WPTO Budget Over Time

Note: This graph shows annual appropriations and enacted funding only. This graph does not reflect the nearly $1B of BIL funding for hydropower and marine energy.

FY 2024 Appropriations for WPTO

On Saturday, March 9, 2024, the President signed into law H.R. 4366, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024,” providing appropriations for several federal agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2024. The law provides $200 million for the Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO). This represents a 12% increase over the office’s prior year budget level and the office’s largest annual budget to date. Of the $200 million, Congress provided $59 million for hydropower and $141 million for marine energy.  

Within the appropriated funding, the agreement directed WPTO to: 

  • Continue foundational research activities led by the National Marine Renewable Energy Centers and affiliated universities and research institutions; 
  • Address infrastructure needs at marine energy technology testing sites, including the Department's Marine and Coastal Research Laboratory; and 
  • Create competitive solicitations to support university- and industry-led projects to rapidly design, fabricate, and test marine energy systems, subsystems, and components. 

Hydropower and Marine Energy Funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law 

In its first month in office, the Biden administration set an ambitious, yet worthwhile goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. To support this goal, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)—the largest federal investor in clean energy—will lead the charge as America makes this historic transition to a 100% clean energy future. With the clean energy investments in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also called the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the administration has already taken significant strides toward this goal.  

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a key piece in President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, includes more than $62 billion for DOE to deliver a more equitable clean energy future for the American people.  

As part of its aim to broaden communities’ access to clean energy, the law provides $910 million for hydropower and marine energy programs under DOE, including $753.6 million for hydropower facilities to improve efficiency, maintain dam safety, reduce environmental impacts, and ensure generators continue to provide emission-free electricity. The water power-specific provisions for DOE are under Division D—Energy, Subtitle D—Hydropower and Title X—Authorization of Appropriations for Energy Act of 2020:  

  • SEC. 40331. HYDROELECTRIC PRODUCTION INCENTIVES. (Revising Section 242 of EPAct05). This section authorizes $125 million for FY 2022 for hydroelectric production incentives until expended. 
  • SEC. 40332. HYDROELECTRIC EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENT INCENTIVES. (Revising Section 243 of EPAct05). This section authorizes $75 million for FY 2022 for hydroelectric efficiency improvement incentives until expended. 
  • SEC. 40333. MAINTAINING AND ENHANCING HYDROELECTRICITY INCENTIVES. (Adding a new incentive Section 247). This section directs the Secretary of Energy to make incentive payments to the owners and operators of hydroelectric facilities for capital improvements related to maintaining and enhancing hydroelectricity generation by improving grid resiliency, improving dam safety, and environmental improvements. This section authorizes $553.6 million with half of the funding provided in FY 2022 and the other half provided in FY 2023. Funds will remain available until expended. 
  • SEC. 40334. PUMPED STORAGE HYDROPOWER WIND AND SOLAR INTEGRATION AND SYSTEM RELIABILITY INITIATIVE. This section directs the Secretary of Energy to establish a demonstration project for a pumped storage hydropower project to facilitate the long duration storage of intermittent renewable electricity. This section also establishes specific eligibility criteria. $10 million, or $2 million every year, are authorized for the period of FY 2022-2026. 
  • SEC. 41006. WATER POWER PROJECTS This section authorizes $146.4 million for FYs 2022-2025 for hydropower and marine energy and National Marine Energy Centers. This breakout of this funding is $36 million for hydropower, $70.4 million for marine energy, and $40 million for the National Marine Energy Centers.