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US Departments of Energy and Interior to award $26.6M to develop advanced hydropower technologies

US Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and US Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced $26.6 million in funding (DE-FOA-0000486) for research and development projects to advance hydropower technology, including pumped storage hydropower.

This funding is focused on development of innovative technologies that can produce power more efficiently, reduce costs and increase sustainable hydropower generation at sites not previously considered practical.

The funding announcement seeks environmentally responsible projects that increase the generation of reliable hydropower for the 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 % and fish passage survival greater than 96 % 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 US 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.

DOE will evaluate applications based on the metrics and guidelines published in the solicitation and will award funding on a competitive basis to a variety of projects and to technologies at various levels of development. Mandatory letters of intent are due 5 May 2011, and completed applications are due 6 June 2011.

The solicitation is issued by DOE’s Wind and Water Power Program, which works to research, test, and develop innovative technologies capable of generating renewable, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective electricity from wind and water power.

The Bureau of Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 western states. Its 58 power plants annually produce, on average, 40 billion kilowatt-hours per year, enough to meet the needs of 9 million people. Last week, Interior released a study that shows the department could generate up to one million megawatt hours of electricity annually and create approximately 1,200 jobs by adding hydropower capacity at 70 of its existing Bureau of Reclamation facilities.



More good work from Mr. Chu and the President. Now, how about closing Gitmo??


There is a low cost way to use 100% of wind/solar and water produced electricity. Two conditions have to be met:

1) Wind turbines and solar power plants have to supply primary power so 100% of the their power output is used.

2) Hydro power plants have to be over equipped and their easy power output variability has to be used to meet peak demands and to complement wind/solar power when those sources cannot meet demands.

When irregular power sources (solar/wind) are made to supply primary power and regular variable sources (Hydro) supply secondary power, the water reservoirs are used to store surplus/unused energy while 100% of the energy produced by wind/solar is effectively used. It is a win-win situation.


Hydropower is great but there is more bang for the buck with other renewables like solar. Hydro is also very complicated in the western U.S. with their complicated water rights issues. Research dollars, if they are to be spent at all, should instead be spent on utility scale energy storage & grid improvements.

As for gitmo --- keep it open forever & leave the slimeballs there.


Sustainable Pumped Storage Hydropower

This allows us to store renewable energy for continuous use. It is more than 70% efficient and is a large scale storage method. It also provides more dependable water resources for farmers, rather than deplete aquifers.

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