Conventional, marine energy sectors could receive historic funding from new federal funding package

U.S. Senate

A $37.5 billion energy and water development package approved by the Senate yesterday could provide record levels of funding for segments of the hydroelectric sector.

The appropriations bill, passed by a 90-8 vote in favor, would provide allocations for the Department of Energy, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Specific to hydropower are:

  • Allocations of $25 million for conventional hydropower and pumped-storage, including up tot $3.9 million for the purposes of Section 242 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005;
  • $3 million for the evaluation of pumped-storage hydropower at two sites to be determined by the Secretary of Energy, while building off DOE's pumped-storage work begun in the current fiscal year;
  • $59 million for marine and hydrokinetic technology research, development and deployment;
  • $25 million to fund further competition in ocean, river and tidal energy through research, development and demonstrations, with the goal of increasing efficiency, reliability and survivability;
  • $35 million to complete the construction of a wave energy test facility;
  • $4 million to support collaborations between universities and the National Laboratories to support marine energy development, as well as coordination with the U.S. Navy on marine energy demonstrations.

Meanwhile on the other side of Congress, the House Appropriations Committee has approved its version of the 2017 energy and water bill, though with lower funding for hydropower than the Senate's version of the legislation. Floor amendments have restored funding the past two years, however.

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