Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Hydroelectric Incentives Invest in Maintaining and Enhancing Hydroelectric Facilities to Ensure Generators Continue to Provide Clean Power

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the opening of the application period for the Hydroelectric Production Incentive, part of the Hydroelectric Incentives Program, which supports the modernization and expansion of hydroelectric power throughout America. Supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed under President Biden, the Hydroelectric Incentives Program is focused on maintaining and enhancing hydroelectric facilities to ensure generators continue to provide clean power, while improving dam safety and reducing environmental impacts. Today's announcement, made by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office Director Maria Robinson at the National Hydropower Associations Waterpower Week, opens the application period for the Hydroelectric Production Incentives for electricity produced during 2023. Hydropower, with existing infrastructure across the United States, is an essential component in helping achieve the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious clean energy goals. 

“Hydropower is the nation’s oldest source of emissions-free, renewable energy and an integral part of reaching the country’s clean energy and climate goals,” said Robinson. “Today’s announcement recognizes that with aging hydroelectric infrastructure, it’s more important than ever to invest in upgrading, improving, and expanding the nation’s hydro fleet and ensure the hydro industry can continue to provide reliable, clean, and flexible power for generations to come.”

Hydropower currently accounts for 28.7% of renewable electricity and 6% of total electricity generation in the United States. However, less than 3% of the nation’s multi-purpose dams are also used to generate electricity. Adding generation equipment to these sites could add up to 4.8 gigawatts of new hydropower capacity to the U.S. electric system by 2050. 

Administered by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office, the Hydroelectric Production Incentives provide payments for energy generated and sold during a calendar year at qualified facilities that either added generation equipment to dams and other water infrastructure or are constructed in an area with inadequate electric service. Originally started in 2014 and expanded under the Biden-Harris Administration, the Hydropower Production Incentives have supported operations and maintenance, fees and service debts, exploration of new small hydropower opportunities, as well as salary and benefits for the hydropower workforce.

In October 2023, DOE announced 66 hydroelectric facilities throughout the country will receive more than $36.7 million in incentive payments for electricity generated and sold in calendar years 2021 and 2022. Over $88 million in incentive payments have been distributed by DOE since 2014.  

The Hydroelectric Production Incentives are part of a comprehensive program funded by a $750 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support the continued operation of the U.S. hydropower fleet and ensure a more reliable and resilient electric grid system. Other program offerings are the Hydroelectric Efficiency Improvement Incentives and Maintaining & Enhancing Hydroelectricity Incentives.

Hydroelectric Production Incentives applications for electricity generated and sold in year 2023 are due by 5:00 pm ET on April 23, 2024. Applicants may apply through the Clean Energy Infrastructure Funding Opportunity Exchange.

Learn more about the Grid Deployment Office.