Biden-Harris administration announces $28 million to advance and deploy hydropower technology

Washington DC – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced more than $28 million in funding through three grant opportunities to support research and development projects that will advance and protect hydropower as a critical source of clean energy. Funded through President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law, the funding will support the expansion of low-impact hydropower (such as retrofitting non-generating dams) and pumped-storage hydro, the development of new pumped-storage hydro facilities, and partnerships with key voices Exposure to issues such as hydropower fleet modernization, sustainability and environmental impact. President Biden’s Reducing Inflation Act also includes a separate tax credit for energy storage, which would further increase the economic appeal of pumped-storage hydro. Hydropower will be a key clean energy source for transitioning from fossil fuels and achieving President Biden’s goals of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035 and a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

“Hydropower, which has long provided Americans with a vital, reliable source of energy, will now play a key role in achieving energy independence and protecting the climate,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “President Biden’s agenda is funding key innovations to harness the promise of hydropower and ensure communities have a voice in building America’s clean energy future.”

Hydropower accounts for 31.5% of U.S. renewable electricity generation, or about 6.3% of total U.S. power generation, while pumped hydroelectricity accounts for 93% of U.S. utility-scale energy storage, ensuring electricity is available when homes and businesses need it.

Funding opportunities include:

  • Promote sustainable development support for hydropower and pumped-storage hydro by encouraging innovative solutions to retrofit unpowered dams, developing and testing technologies that alleviate the challenges of pumped-storage hydro deployment, and providing opportunities for organizations not broadly involved in DOE hydro technologies Office of Hydropower R&D. (Amount of grant: $14.5 million)
  • Support research to facilitate the permitting and eventual construction and commissioning of new pumped-storage hydropower facilities to facilitate long-term storage of intermittent renewable electricity. (Amount of funding: $10 million)
  • Promote the efforts of different hydropower stakeholders to discuss and find a way forward on topics such as modernizing the U.S. hydropower fleet, hydropower system sustainability, and the environmental impact of hydropower facilities. (Amount of funding: $4 million)

These three funding opportunity announcements are available on the EERE Exchange.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Office of Hydropower Technologies.

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