ARKANSAS, Oct 21 (Future Headlines)- The US Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) has announced its intention to provide a funding opportunity totaling $9.5 million. This initiative, set to be officially released during the autumn of 2023, is aimed at advancing the adaptability of hydropower. Hydropower is a crucial component of the United States’ renewable energy sector, currently contributing to 28.7% of the nation’s total renewable electricity generation and approximately 6.2% of its overall electricity output.

The primary objective of this funding opportunity is to bolster hydropower’s capacity to support an electricity grid that is experiencing a growing influx of variable renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. Hydropower stands out for its flexibility, providing the capability to deliver electricity instantaneously or accumulate it for use in line with real-time demand. By enhancing the adaptability of hydropower, the energy sector aims to increase its ability to integrate renewable energy sources efficiently.

This funding initiative is expected to allocate financial support to projects falling under three distinct topic areas, all focused on enhancing hydropower’s adaptability:

Hybridized Hydropower Demonstration: This topic area centers on demonstrating hydropower hybrid configurations. These configurations may involve pairing hydropower facilities with alternative energy generation methods or integrating them with energy storage resources. The advantages include improved grid services, reduced equipment wear and tear, and minimized environmental impacts from changes in water flow patterns.

Technologies to Increase Flexibility: In this topic area, the objective is to stimulate technological innovations that enhance the flexible capabilities of the US hydropower fleet. Innovations might encompass groundbreaking developments in turbine design and other hardware components.

Operational Flexibility: The third topic area aims to quantify the current flexible capabilities of hydropower and develop operational strategies to amplify this adaptability. This will help align hydropower with the evolving requirements of the electricity grid.

The complete notice of intent, providing comprehensive details on this funding opportunity, can be accessed through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Funding Opportunity Exchange.

Hydropower, recognized for its renewable energy benefits, plays a pivotal role in the US energy landscape. It not only contributes significantly to renewable electricity generation but also offers grid reliability and flexibility. Its ability to swiftly respond to fluctuations in energy demand complements the growing presence of intermittent renewable sources like solar and wind power. Therefore, investing in the adaptability of hydropower aligns with the broader goal of creating a resilient and sustainable energy grid.

This funding initiative reflects the United States’ commitment to advancing the integration of renewable energy into its energy mix, further contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.

Reporting by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White