MendoCoastCurrent, June 30, 2009
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu is making available over $32 million in Recovery Act funding to modernize the existing hydropower infrastructure in the U.S., increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact.
His announcement supports the deployment of turbines and control technologies to increase power generation and environmental stewardship at existing non-federal hydroelectric facilities.
“There’s no one solution to the energy crisis, but hydropower is clearly part of the solution and represents a major opportunity to create more clean energy jobs,” said Secretary Chu. “Investing in our existing hydropower infrastructure will strengthen our economy, reduce pollution and help us toward energy independence.”
Secretary Chu notes a key benefit of hydropower: potential hydro energy can be stored behind dams and released when it is most needed. Therefore, improving our hydro infrastructure can help to increase the utilization and economic viability of intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.
Secretary Chu has committed to developing pumped storage technology to harness these advantages. Today’s funding opportunity announcement under the Recovery Act will be competitively awarded to a variety of non-federal hydropower projects that can be developed without significant modifications to dams and with a minimum of regulatory delay.
Projects will be selected in two areas:
- Deployment of Hydropower Upgrades at Projects >50 MW: These include projects at large, non-federal facilities (greater than 50 MW capacity) with existing or advanced technologies that will enable improved environmental performance and significant new generation.
- Deployment of Hydropower Upgrades at Projects < 50 MW: These include projects at small-scale non-federal facilities (less than 50 MWs) with existing or advanced technologies that will enable improved environmental performance and significant new generation.
Letters of intent are due July 22, 2009, and completed applications are due August 20, 2009.
The complete Funding Opportunity Announcement, number DE-FOA-0000120, can be viewed on the Grants.gov Web site. Projects are expected to begin in fiscal year 2010.