The US Department of Energy's (DOE's) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) has released its 2022–2023 Accomplishments Report – a comprehensive document which highlights over 40 hydropower and marine energy successes stemming from WPTO-funded initiatives across national laboratories, corporate entities, and academic institutions nationwide.

Jennifer Garson, Director of WPTO, lauded the collaborative efforts behind these achievements, emphasizing the collective strides made towards harnessing the full potential of water power to align with the nation's ambitious clean energy objectives. "Our accomplishments report offers a glimpse into some of the incredible projects underway to advance hydropower and marine energy technologies," stated Garson. "Together, we’re working to realize the full potential of water power to help achieve our country’s clean energy goals."

Hydropower and marine energy resources play a crucial role in driving the transition towards a clean electricity sector by 2035 and paving the way for a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050.

As part of WPTO’s Hydropower Program, researchers: 

  • Examined how advanced manufacturing and materials could benefit the hydropower sector by lowering operation costs and increasing the efficiency of the existing fleet and future facilities. 
  • Developed a new map and web tool to help hydropower stakeholders understand how the Inflation Reduction Act’s investment tax credits can be used to develop pumped storage hydropower projects across the United States. 
  • Worked with hydropower stakeholders to adapt an open-source software solution to support cybersecurity at hydropower facilities. 
  • Supported the 25th annual Salmon Summit, an educational event in eastern Washington designed, in part, to inspire the next generation of hydropower researchers; other diverse science, technology, engineering, and math professionals; and a science-aware community. 
  • Evaluated challenges and opportunities facing the hydropower industry and how it could attract a new, more diverse workforce. 

Through WPTO’s Marine Energy Program, researchers: 

  • Deployed a first-of-its-kind electrochemical marine carbon dioxide removal system, which could capture 100 tons of carbon dioxide annually or about as much as 50 cars emit in a year. 
  • Tested a wave energy converter in hurricane-level waves, which demonstrated the prototype’s durability and showed that marine energy can reliably power data collection and ocean exploration activities. 
  • Developed and tested methodologies and tools to help researchers better understand and evaluate how environmental stressors related to marine energy technologies may impact marine wildlife. 
  • Supported multiple projects with custom data acquisition systems to enable marine energy technology developers to collect data on how their prototypes perform in the lab, wave tank tests, or open-ocean trials.