More than $200 million in funding has been announced by the Biden-Harris Administration, through the US Department of Energy (DOE), for the modernization and expansion of hydroelectric power throughout America and the advancement of new marine energy technologies.
The funding will be available through the Hydroelectric Incentives Program, which is focused on maintaining and enhancing hydroelectric facilities to ensure generators continue to provide clean power, while improving dam safety and reducing environmental impacts. Applications are being accepted through two solicitations, with guidance issued by the DOE.
The Hydroelectric Production Incentives will provide up to $125 million in incentive payments to qualified hydroelectric facilities for electricity generated and sold in calendar years 2021 and 2022, while the Hydroelectric Efficiency Improvement Incentives will invest $75 million to enable the implementation of capital improvements to boost efficiency.
In addition to supporting efficiency and modernization efforts in existing hydroelectric facilities, DOE is also investing in projects to advance new marine energy technologies and grow the hydropower and marine energy workforce. The Innovating Distributed Embedded Energy Prize will award up to $2.3 million to competitors investigating novel technologies for harnessing and converting the power of ocean waves into usable types of energy such as electricity, while two competitions – The Hydropower Collegiate Competition and the Marine Energy Collegiate Competition – will help undergraduate and graduate students prepare for jobs in hydropower, marine energy, and related industries by challenging them to develop unique solutions to advance these technologies.
Also announced was the Marine Energy Graduate Student Research Program through which five students will undertake research to advance the understanding and development of marine energy resources through work with DOE’s national laboratories and other government and industry partners, including the Department of Defense.
“Water power is the nation’s oldest source of renewable energy and an integral part of the suite of clean energy solutions that we must continue to deploy in our fight against climate change,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The President's clean energy agenda is providing the investments necessary to further grow and improve existing hydropower fleets while supporting the next wave of water power technologies, ensuring a steady flow of cheap and reliable power to more Americans.”