The US Department of Energy's (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) has announced an opportunity for hydropower developers, system operators, utilities, and various stakeholders to access technical assistance. This support, facilitated by DOE national laboratories, is geared towards aiding stakeholders in the development of hydropower hybrids and pumped storage hydropower (PSH), with a specific emphasis on assisting in decision-making processes for potential projects.

Hydropower plays a vital role in ensuring the stability and reliability of the national grid, especially as it integrates more variable renewable energy sources. Currently, hydropower accounts for 6.2% of total US utility-scale electricity generation and 28.7% of total US utility-scale renewable electricity generation. Pumped storage hydropower, in particular, stands out as the largest contributor to energy storage in the US, representing 96% of utility-scale energy storage capacity as of 2022.

This technical assistance aims to provide:

  • Industry stakeholders with greater insight into the value of hydropower hybrid configurations, which combine hydropower with another electricity generation or energy storage resource. Technical assistance would provide access to national laboratory hydro hybrids sizing, planning, and operations tools to evaluate hydropower hybrid opportunities. 
  • PSH developers and other stakeholders with national laboratory expertise and capabilities to help them address valuation hurdles in PSH project development. Technical assistance will provide access to national laboratory tools, such as the PSH Valuation Tool, and other modeling and analysis capabilities to evaluate PSH development opportunities.

The WPTO plans to extend technical assistance to up to 18 projects, each lasting between two to three years. Recipients can expect assistance valued between $200,000 and $1.25 million, tailored to their specific project needs. Technical assistance teams will be assembled with subject-matter experts from one or more national laboratories. (This technical assistance opportunity is pending future congressional appropriations.)

Potential recipients must submit statements of interest no later than 5 p.m. ET on April 1, 2024. The full call for technical assistance is available online.