Energy, Interior award $17 million to hydro research and development

The U.S. Departments of Energy and Interior awarded $17 million over three years to research and development efforts designed to advance hydropower technology.

Sixteen projects were selected through a competitive grant process. The selection was based on each project’s ability to produce hydropower more efficiently, reduce costs and increase sustainable hydropower generation.

The funding is part of the Obama Administration’s plan to meet 80 percent of the nation’s electricity needs with clean energy sources by 2035.

Among other things, the research projects promise to improve generation from small hydropower projects (less than 30 MW), boost environmental performance of hydropower facilities, test low-head technologies and encourage deployment of pumped storage hydro.

“By improving and deploying advanced hydropower technologies, we can maximize our use of this proven clean energy resource, create jobs and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The projects selected center on four ways to advance hydropower production in the U.S.: Sustainable small hydropower; sustainable pumped storage hydropower; environmental mitigation technologies for conventional hydropower; and advanced hydropower system testing at a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation facility.

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