Federal Funding Revitalizes DOE’s Hydropower R&D Research Program

With a recommitment to the nation’s development of hydropower energy and technologies, the House Appropriations Committee on June 6 recommended allocating $22 million — its largest recommendation for hydropower in decades — to the Department of Energy’s Hydropower Research and Development Research program.

The $22 million for Fiscal Year 2008 included in the approximate $3.2 billion energy spending bill allows for critical research and development of hydropower and its emerging technologies, including ocean, tidal and in-stream hydrokinetic systems.

“The National Hydropower Association commends the efforts of the Energy and Water Subcommittee and the Appropriations Committee for bringing funding back into the budget and to the committee’s dedication to advancing the development of conventional hydropower and promoting the growth of the new technologies,” said Linda Church Ciocci, executive director of the National Hydropower Association.

The committee recommends $4 million for environmental studies for conventional and new waterpower technologies, $6 million for research, development and deployment of the new technologies, $7 million for the advanced turbine program, and $5 million for hydropower resource assessments at existing dams.

“This is not only a significant victory for the hydropower industry, but also for the nation and its efforts to use more clean, renewable energy,” said Church Ciocci. “Federal investment in hydropower research has led to remarkable innovations within the industry. This funding will continue to help us find more efficient ways to create power from a vast resource.”

A recently released report by the Electric Power Research Institute estimates hydropower can add at least another 23,000 megawatts by the year 2025, with a total growth potential of nearly 90,000 megawatts. That estimated potential comes from improved turbine efficiency, new energy facilities on existing non-powered dams and new waterpower technologies.

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