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Public Power Utilities Receive DOE Hydropower Production Incentives Funding

Public power utilities and communities are included among the recipients of more than $38 million in incentive payments that will be provided by the U.S. Department of Energy for electricity generated and sold from hydropower facilities.

The payments provide funding for electricity generated and sold from dams and other water infrastructure that add or expand hydroelectric power generating capabilities. These incentive payments represent DOE’s largest investment in hydroelectric facilities to date, DOE said on Oct. 11.

Ohio-based AMP, a joint action agency, Washington State’s Tacoma Power, the City of Black River Falls, Wis., and California’s SMUD will receive incentive funds from the DOE.

Hydropower currently accounts for 28.7% of renewable electricity generation in the United States, as well as 93% of all utility-scale energy storage capacity. However, less than 3% of the nation’s more than 90,000 dams currently produce power, DOE noted.

 Adding generation equipment to these sites could add up to 12 gigawatts of new hydropower capacity to the U.S. electric system. 

The Hydroelectric Production Incentives, administered by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office, are part of a comprehensive program funded by a $750 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support the continued operation of the U.S. hydropower fleet and ensure a more reliable and resilient electric grid system, DOE said.

Other program offerings are the Hydroelectric Efficiency Improvement Incentives and Maintaining & Enhancing Hydroelectricity Incentives.

Originally started in 2014 and expanded under the Biden-Harris Administration, Hydropower Incentives have been used to support operations and maintenance, fees and service debts, exploration of new small hydropower opportunities, as well as salary and benefits for the hydropower workforce. 

A full list of selected entities is available here.

DOE Releases Reimagined Hydropower Vision Roadmap

DOE on Oct. 11 also released the reimagined Hydropower Vision Roadmap, led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office.

With the release of the Hydropower Vision report in 2016, DOE made a commitment to the hydropower community to make the report a living document. To uphold that commitment, WPTO and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory reimagined the roadmap with the support of the hydropower community.

The report stated that with continued technology advancements, innovative market mechanisms, and a focus on environmental sustainability, U.S. hydropower could grow from its current 101 gigawatts to nearly 150 GW of combined electricity generating and storage capacity by 2050.

The roadmap lays out the specific activities identified by the hydropower community to achieve those goals by 2050. 

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