US DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office announces $9.5 million funding opportunity to enhance hydropower flexibility

20 November 2023

In a move to bolster the adaptability of hydropower and optimize its integration with variable renewable energy resources, the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) has unveiled a $9.5 million funding opportunity. The initiative aims to advance strategies that will enable hydropower to better navigate the fluctuations in resources such as wind and solar within the power system.

Hydropower currently contributes to 28.7% of total US renewable electricity generation and 6.2% of overall US electricity generation. Recognizing its pivotal role in the nation's clean energy landscape, this funding opportunity seeks to amplify the capabilities of hydropower to provide immediate electricity or store it for real-time demand, aligning with the United States' commitment to meeting clean energy goals.

The funding opportunity is structured around three key topic areas, with a total amount of $9.5 million available for selected projects:

  • Hydropower Hybrids Demonstration (Up to $4 million): This category supports projects demonstrating hybridized hydropower operations, where hydropower facilities are paired with other non-hydropower generation or storage resources. The goal is to explore synergies that enhance grid services, reduce wear-and-tear on machinery, and mitigate environmental impacts.
  • Technologies to Increase Flexibility (Up to $4 million): Funding under this topic will facilitate the testing of advanced hydropower components aimed at overcoming constraints to flexibility at the component level. Informed by industry discussions and technical workshops, the goal is to de-risk promising technologies for widespread deployment.
  • Operational Flexibility (Up to $1.5 million): Projects in this category will focus on the development of operational strategies, model enhancements, and tools that enhance the net flexibility of individual plants or coordinated sets of plants in cascading river systems. Informed by academic and research organization insights, this topic aims to advance the industry's operational practices.

Between four and seven awards are expected under this funding opportunity, with individual awards ranging from $750,000 to $4 million. Interested applicants must submit a concept paper by 5 p.m. ET on January 18, 2024, to be eligible for a full application.

To provide further insight into the funding opportunity, the WPTO will host an informational webinar on November 30, 2023, at 2:30 p.m. ET. Interested parties can register for the webinar to learn more about the application process and areas of focus.

For additional information on this funding opportunity and other water power funding opportunities, visit


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