DOE, Army, Interior extend partnership for hydroelectric power development

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The U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of the Army for Civil Works have announced that the trio will extend their partnership to advance hydroelectric power development for an additional five years, extending an agreement that stems to March 2010.

The Memorandum of Understanding for Hydropower — Sustainable Hydropower Action Plan (Phase II) is intended to support the Obama Administration’s 2013 Climate Action Plan, which seeks to double the United State’s renewable generating portfolio by 2020 and more in coming decades.

“Our collaboration with the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers enables our nation to responsibly expand America’s largest source of clean, renewable energy,” Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall said. “I am excited about this opportunity to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio, boost our energy security, and reduce carbon emissions with the advanced hydropower technologies that the Department of Energy is helping to develop and deploy.”

The partnership also includes other federal agencies, members of the hydropower industry and research agencies, allowing for continued work on objectives including:

  • Improving the accuracy and reducing costs of water flow measurement technology;
  • Evaluating superconducting generator technology;
  • Further developing low-impact, low-cost hydropower technologies;
  • Designing tools to improve the environmental performance of hydropower turbines; and
  • Continuing to assess risks to domestic hydroelectric generation and water infrastructure posed by climate change.

The first phase of the initiative has already created a number of new projects, including 10 non-federal projects at Reclamation facilities that have a cumulative output capacity of 33 MW. Another 40 are currently in development.

Meanwhile, three non-federal projects comprising 19.4 MW at USACE infrastructure have come on line, with more than 30 others being developed.

“Through the advancement of hydropower, the three agencies are helping meet President Obama’s goal of generating 80% of our energy from clean energy sources by 2035,” Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor said. “This agreement continues Interior’s commitment to renewable energy projects and expands on the original MOU by adding more goals and action items.”

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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