The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced more than US$28 million across three funding opportunities to support research and development projects that will advance and preserve hydropower as a critical source of clean energy.
Funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this funding will support the expansion of low-impact hydropower (such as retrofits for dams that do not produce power) and pumped storage hydropower, the development of new pumped storage hydropower facilities, and engagement with key voices on issues such as hydropower fleet modernisation, sustainability, and environmental impacts. President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act also includes a standalone tax credit for energy storage, which will further enhance the economic attractiveness of pumped storage hydropower. Hydropower will be a key clean energy source in transitioning away from fossil fuels and meeting President Biden’s goals of 100% carbon pollution free electricity by 2035 and a net zero carbon economy by 2050.
“Hydropower has long provided Americans with significant, reliable energy, which will now play a crucial role in achieving energy independence and protecting the climate,” said US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm. “President Biden’s Agenda is funding critical innovations to capitalise on the promise of hydropower and ensure communities have a say in building America’s clean energy future.”
Hydropower accounts for 31.5% of US renewable electricity generation and approximately 6.3% of total US electricity generation, while pumped storage hydropower accounts for 93% of US utility scale energy storage, ensuring power is available when homes and businesses need it.
The funding opportunities include:
- Advancing the sustainable development of hydropower and pumped storage hydropower by encouraging innovative solutions to retrofit non-powered dams, the development and testing of technologies that mitigate challenges to pumped storage hydropower deployment, as well as opportunities for organisations not extensively engaged with DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office to support hydropower research and development. (Funding amount: US$14.5 million).
- Supporting studies that facilitate the licensing and eventual construction and commissioning of new pumped storage hydropower facilities to facilitate the long-duration storage of intermittent renewable electricity. (Funding amount: US$10 million).
- Uplifting the efforts of diverse hydropower stakeholders to discuss and find paths forward on topics that include US hydropower fleet modernisation, hydropower system sustainability, and hydropower facilities’ environmental impact. (Funding amount: US$4 million).
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