The US Department of Energy (DOE) is investing $3.7 million 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.
The investment, which is funded from the from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, 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 US 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 are expected to 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.