U.S. agency seeks help to advance hydropower, pumped storage contributions to grid

Finding a way to make the electric transmission grid more resilient in the face of high levels of intermittent renewable energy generation is a hot topic worldwide.

Mirroring this, the Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, has issued a request for information (RFI) on expanding hydropower and pumped storage’s contribution to grid resiliency and reliability.

The office seeks to understand, access and utilize the full potential of the hydropower fleet in the U.S., including pumped storage, to contribute to electric grid resilience and reliability, as well as seeking opportunities for the existing and potential pumped storage and hydropower fleet to expand its contribution in the future.

WPTO plans to use this information to develop a research portfolio with a variety of objectives:

  • Lower system costs
  • Bring insight to hydropower technology development and research investments
  • Promote optimization of hydroelectric resources
  • Support a more secure and reliable electric power system

This RFI comes after Congress directed WPTO to produce techno-economic analysis of the value of pumped storage hydropower at two sites with high levels of intermittent renewable energy generation. Topic 1 of this RFI addresses this directive. In addition, the RFI requests information about four other topics:

Topic 1: Techno-economic analysis of pumped storage hydropower at two sites

Topic 2: Hydropower capability, operational impacts and costs

Topic 3: Current operations landscape

Topic 4: Role and value of hydropower in future power systems

Topic 5: Additional research needs

Responses are due April 6.

This RFI is not a funding opportunity announcement or a notice of technical assistance, and no funding will result from responding to this RFI.

HydroVision connection

HydroVision International 2018 – this June in Charlotte, N.C., U.S. — will feature several sessions on the topic of pumped storage, as well as several sessions on grid issues.

In addition, a Grid Scale Energy Storage Summit will be held Monday and Tuesday, June 25 and 26, co-located with HydroVision International. Click here to learn more about the content.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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