The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has allocated $60 million in fiscal year (FY) 2015 funds for the Water Power Program to research and develop marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) and hydropower technologies. Current activities supported by this budget include:
- HydroNEXT: Activities will focus on technologies and tools to improve performance and sustainably increase generation at existing water resources infrastructure, in addition to the development and demonstration of technologies to lower the cost, improve the performance, and reduce the environmental impacts of hydropower for new stream‐reach development.
- Modular Pumped‐Storage Hydropower: Building on the Modular Pumped Storage Feasibility Study conducted in FY 2014, the program will begin developing innovative m‐PSH system designs that exhibit cost‐competitiveness with existing large‐scale designs.
- MHK Research and Design: To advance system designs of marine energy conversion devices, the program will continue to support field studies and applied MHK research; integrate innovative component technologies into advance system designs; and will demonstrate the viability of MHK systems.
- MHK Open‐Source Advanced Design Tools: Compile, analyze, and disseminate performance data from device testing to enable the validation and improvement of numerical modeling tools. These datasets will be freely available to entrepreneurs and industry to allow for the simulation of device array designs and array impacts.
FISCAL YEAR 2016 BUDGET REQUEST
For FY 2016, the Water Power Program's budget request is $67 million. In addition to the activities featured in the FY 2015 budget, priority activity areas for the Water Power Program's FY 2016 budget request include:
- Low-Impact Hydropower Design and Testing: To reduce the cost and improve the environmental performance of hydropower technologies and facilities, the program will help leverage existing hydro mechanical test facilities to test low-impact technologies and advance plant design innovations.
- MHK Test Facility: The program will support front end engineering and design of a multi-berth, full-scale grid-connected open water wave test facility. The results of this completed engineering and design phase will inform further facility construction funding.
- Environmental Research and Risk Mitigation: The program will continue to coordinate with relevant federal agencies in MHK environmental research, monitoring, and data dissemination. These efforts will help reduce the time and cost associated with siting and permitting MHK projects, currently a critical barrier in the technology development cycle.
For more information, see the Department of Energy’s FY 2016 Congressional Budget Request.
In 2008, the Energy Department established the Water Power Program to support both MHK and hydropower technologies. Prior to establishment of the Water Power Program, the Energy Department funded hydropower activities to develop cost-competitive technologies and reduce environmental impacts of hydropower from 1977–2006.