U.S. House panel endorses $30 million for DOE hydro R&D

The House Appropriations Committee has endorsed a $33.3 billion energy and water appropriations bill that includes spending $30 million on the Department of Energy’s hydropower research and development program.

The hydro R&D appropriation, for the 2010 budget year that begins Oct. 1, is equal to President Obama’s budget recommendation, but $10 million less than the amount appropriated for the current year. (HydroWorld 5/11/09)

DOE has said it would use the hydro R&D funding proposed for 2010 to continue technology development and testing, environmental impact studies, resources assessments, and cost analyses. The department’s waterpower program focuses on enabling the development and deployment of advanced waterpower technologies that will increase water-based electrical generation through marine and hydrokinetic technologies, and by increases in incremental conventional hydropower generation.

In an explanation accompanying Obama’s proposal, DOE said funds appropriated for the current year initiated priority activities for marine and hydrokinetic technology development and testing, environmental impact studies, resource assessments, and cost analyses. DOE said it also is using the funds to begin a national assessment of existing conventional hydropower infrastructure to identify opportunities for increased incremental generation, ancillary benefits, and improved environmental performance.

The committee endorsed $208 million to DOE for electricity delivery and reliability, including $62.9 million for “smart” transmission grid research and development, $15 million for R&D of grid-connected energy storage technologies, and $42 million to increase grid efficiency and enable widespread deployment of clean, renewable energy.

Panel backs water infrastructure spending

The energy and water spending bill, endorsed by the committee July 8, 2009, would increase funding for the Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation to help address infrastructure needs. The bill also invests in new technologies, scientific research, and conservation efforts.

The bill would appropriate $5.5 billion for the Corps, $139 million above 2009 and $416 million above the Corps’ budget request, to address water resource investment needs, a committee statement said. It includes $2.5 billion for operation and maintenance, $309 million above 2009 and $7 million above the request, to help address a $1 billion O&M backlog on navigation infrastructure.

The Corps would receive $2.1 billion for construction, $19 million below 2009 but $405 million above the request, for projects including ongoing flood protection work. Another $142 million was allotted for investigations, $26 million below 2009 but $42 million above the request, to plan and design the next generation of water resource infrastructure.

The bill appropriates $1.1 billion to the Department of Interior, $38 million below 2009 but $17 million above the request, including $1 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation for dams, canals, water treatment and conservation, and rural water projects.

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