U.S. Department Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have announced nearly $17 million in funding for research and development projects to advance hydropower technology.
Sixteen projects in 11 states were selected through a competitive grant process for their ability to contribute to the development of innovative technologies that produce hydropower more efficiently, reduce costs and increase sustainable hydropower generation.
“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,” says Secretary Chu. “Hydropower can be used to store energy to help utilities better integrate other sources of renewable energy like wind and solar into the grid, improving our energy security and diversifying our clean energy resources.”
These projects will advance sustainable renewable energy generation from small (less than 30 megawatts) hydropower resources, enhance environmental performance of hydropower, test innovative, cost-effective technologies for hydropower development at low-head (less than a 30 foot drop) sites such as irrigation canals and non-powered dams, and spur deployment of pumped storage hydropower.
Hydropower is a source of renewable energy that can be relied upon for long-term, stable production of domestic electricity. The hydropower industry currently employs more than 300,000 workers in the United States, making it not only the oldest, but also the largest renewable power generation workforce in the nation.