The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of the Interior have announced $26.6 million in funding for research and development projects to advance hydropower technology, including pumped storage hydropower. This funding is focused on development of technologies that can produce power more efficiently, reduce costs and increase sustainable hydropower generation at sites not previously considered practical.
"Deploying advanced hydropower, including using water to store energy, will help meet peak electricity demands and provide additional clean energy sources for America's future," said DOE Secretary Steven Chu.
The funding announcement seeks environmentally responsible projects that increase the generation of reliable hydropower for the nation's electricity supply.
Projects will be selected in four areas:
- Sustainable Small Hydropower ($10.5 million awarded over 3 years): These projects will research, develop, and test low head small hydropower technologies that can be quickly and efficiently deployed in existing or constructed waterways. DOE will fund system or component model development, as well as the testing of these systems.
- Environmental Mitigation Technologies for Conventional Hydropower ($2.25 million awarded over 3 years): These projects will develop innovative conventional hydropower technologies that feature enhanced environmental performance designs to increase electricity generation while mitigating fish and habitat impacts and enhancing downstream water quality. As an example, concepts that demonstrate turbine efficiencies greater than 90 percent and fish passage survival greater than 96 percent will be sought.
- Sustainable Pumped Storage Hydropower ($11.875 million awarded over 4 years): DOE intends to provide technical and financial assistance to accelerate pumped storage hydropower projects already in the pipeline. Projects that begin construction by 2014 and integrate wind and/or solar will be preferred. DOE will also support analyses that calculate the economic value of pumped storage hydropower in dynamically responding to the grid and in providing other ancillary services.
- Advanced Conventional Hydropower System Testing at a Bureau of Reclamation Facility ($2.0 million awarded over 3 years): These projects will support system tests of innovative, low-head hydropower technologies at non-powered hydro facilities and sites owned by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. The deliverable includes testing to demonstrate energy cost reductions that could be replicated at other Bureau of Reclamation sites. Both the Bureau and Department of Energy are sponsoring this work.
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