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Non-powered dams such as the Byrd Creek Dam in Crossville, Tennessee, may prove viable as retrofitted hydropower facilities, producing sustainable, clean electricity. Credit: Scott DeNeale/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Clean Power

$3.7 Million to Deepen Relationships & Trust to Improve Hydropower Research & Development

Biden-Harris Administration Invests $3.7 Million in Project to Deepen Relationships and Trust Among Key Parties to Improve Hydropower Research and Development

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Investment to Support Engagement with Environmental Groups, Tribes, and Disadvantaged Communities in Areas with Hydropower and River Restoration Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $3.7 million in funding from the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for a project that aims to deepen relationships and trust between hydropower and river stakeholders to better incorporate community priorities in hydropower R&D activities. This investment seeks to expand collaboration on the dual goals of maintaining hydropower as a key source of renewable energy and preserving healthy rivers to support communities and the environment. Hydropower currently accounts for 31.5% of total U.S. renewable electricity generation and about 6.3% of total U.S. electricity generation.

“Hydropower has served as a reliable source of renewable energy in the United States for nearly 150 years, and it will continue to be a source of both clean energy and power system flexibility critical to achieving the nation’s climate goals,” said Alejandro Moreno, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “Through this project, we can uplift the efforts of diverse hydropower stakeholders who are focused on achieving these goals while respecting rivers’ environmental and cultural importance.”

American Rivers will lead this project, which expands on the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment’s Uncommon Dialogue on Hydropower, River Restoration, and Public Safety. Through this effort, American Rivers and its partners will develop tools and documents to provide valuable insights and recommendations for DOE, Tribes, and other stakeholders on issues such as dam safety, inclusive workforce, the federal licensing process, fleet modernization, and reservoir emissions. These efforts will enhance and inform R&D needs for hydropower technologies and environmental mitigation efforts at DOE and in industry with the goal of improving outcomes for Tribes and disadvantaged communities in remote areas where hydropower and river restoration projects are often sited.

This project was selected through the Water Power Technologies Office’s Stakeholder Insight Into Hydropower R&D Issues funding opportunity and is subject to final award negotiations.

Learn more about this and other water power funding opportunities.

Courtesy of the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

 Image by Scott DeNeale courtesy of ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

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