On May 21, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced that its Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program is offering $6.6 million in new funding for projects that would add hydropower generating capabilities to existing dams throughout the U.S. Qualified facilities will be selected for funding based on the number of kilowatt hours generated in calendar year 2018.
DOE is providing this new round of funding in accordance with section 242 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (“EPACT”), which addresses hydroelectric production incentives. According to the DOE, “the EPACT framework supports development of renewable energy systems and advancements in energy conservation and energy-efficient technologies.” In its announcement of the new funding, the DOE recognized hydropower as an important renewable energy resource in the U.S. The DOE further stated adding new hydropower generation equipment onto pre-existing dams could result in up to 12 GW of new capacity onto the electric grid. In addition, the DOE cited several benefits to utilizing current dam infrastructure, including lower construction costs, reduced permitting time, and less impact on the surrounding environment.
In the previous round of funding provided in 2017, the DOE awarded $6.6. million in available funding to 37 eligible applicants from 15 different states. According to the DOE, all of the funding resulted in the generation of new low-cost hydropower energy.
Applications for funding are due to the Water Power Technologies Office by June 20, 2019. The DOE’s funding announcement and guidance documents on the application process are available here.