DOE Seeks Public Input on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Program that Will Invest in the Maintenance and Enhancement of Hydroelectric Facilities.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued draft application guidance for a hydroelectric incentive program focused on maintaining and enhancing hydroelectric facilities to ensure generators continue to provide clean electricity, while improving dam safety and reducing environmental impacts. In releasing the draft guidance, DOE is requesting feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including industry, clean-energy advocates, and local governments and communities on eligibility, application requirements, and timing of incentive payments. Leveraging operational flexibility and energy storage capabilities, hydropower supports energy resource adequacy to ensure the availability of clean, reliable generation capacity allowing all Americans access to clean, resilient, and affordable electricity.

“Hydropower, our nation’s oldest renewable power source, remains a key resource in our energy transition and meeting our clean energy goals,” said Maria Robinson, Director, Grid Deployment Office, U.S. Department of Energy. “Investments in the country’s aging fleet, provided by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will allow for necessary improvements to enhance our grid system and ensure access to clean, reliable, and affordable electricity.”

Hydropower currently provides 6% of all electricity in the United States and accounts for 32% of renewable-electricity generation, as well as 93% of all utility-scale energy storage. However, less than 3% of the nation’s more than 90,000 dams currently produce power. 

One of three Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-supported hydroelectric incentive programs administered by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office (GDO), the Maintaining and Enhancing Hydroelectricity Incentives Program (BIL Provision 40333) will provide incentive payments to enhance existing hydropower facilities for capital improvements directly related to grid resiliency, dam safety, and environmental improvements. Additional GDO incentive programs focus on providing incentive payments to qualified hydroelectric facilities for electricity generated and sold (Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program) and implementing capital improvements to improve efficiency (Hydroelectric Efficiency Improvement Incentives Program).

DOE is offering three response options to the Draft Guidance.  

  • Stakeholders can request an opportunity to provide DOE staff with a verbal response. Any discussion with a DOE staff member will be limited to the topics presented in the Draft Guidance. Requests must be submitted to by 5:00 pm ET on Thursday, February 16, 2023 to ensure that verbal responses are scheduled and completed prior to the February 28, 2023 written response deadline. Refer to the Federal Register Notice or the Hydroelectric 247 Draft Guidance page for additional details. 
  • A public webinar to be held on Thursday, February 16, 2023 at 1:00 pm ET, will provide the public with an opportunity to provide feedback. Registration is required
  • Written responses to the Draft Guidance must be submitted electronically to no later than 5:00 pm ET on Tuesday, February 28, 2023.