Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure LawCongress for the first time directed funding to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the Hydroelectric Efficiency Improvement Incentives Program. The program was first authorized by Section 243 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 but was never previously funded.

Section 40332 of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law authorized DOE to provide $75 million in incentive payments for Section 243: Hydroelectric Efficiency Improvement Incentives Program. Owners or operators of existing hydroelectric facilities, including pumped storage hydropower, may apply for funding to make capital improvements that can improve their efficiency by at least 3%.

On June 30, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy released a request for information to solicit feedback from a wide range of stakeholders on the structure of the Section 243 and Section 247 programs, timing and distribution of funds, definitions of capital improvements, and selection criteria. Comments closed on September 6, 2022.

A public webinar on the request for information was held on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. View the transcript of the webinar and slide deck.

Funding Restrictions

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law states that payments shall not exceed 30% of the costs of the applicable capital improvement. A single qualified hydroelectric facility, including pumped storage hydropower, may only receive one incentive payment from this program within a single fiscal year, and that payment shall not exceed $5 million.

DRAFT Timeline of Upcoming Section 243 Activities

Estimated dates; subject to change.

Summer 2022

Release a Request for Information

Summer 2022

Hold public workshop and open 30-day comment period

Fall 2022

Draft interim guidance

Summer 2023

Issue Fiscal Year 2022 guidance and open solicitation

Stay tuned! DOE is seeking to establish formal processes for qualifying facilities to request funds under the hydropower incentive provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

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