US Energy Department launches new round of funding to reward new hydropower

Under an incentive program for hydropower development, the US Energy Department opened the application period for the program’s latest round of funding.

Applications are now being accepted from owners and operators that produced hydroelectric power in 2015 from new equipment added to an existing dam or conduit constructed before 2005. Applications for this new round of funding are due by May 31, 2016.

Progress in hydropower technologies, many funded by the Energy Department, has led to new hydroelectric energy systems that take advantage of existing structures such as non-powered dams and conduits. To meet America’s growing need for electricity, the funding creates an incentive to develop these existing structures with new hydropower systems. Created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, our Section 242 Hydroelectric Production Incentive program payments are based on the amount of electricity produced in a given calendar year.

The $3.5 million in funding announced today will be awarded as incentive payments based on kilowatt hours of hydroelectric energy generated in calendar year 2015. Qualified applicants may receive up to 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour generated by their qualifying facility during the incentive period.

Hydropower is the nation’s leading source of renewable energy and helps the country avoid more than 200 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year, while providing about 7% of our electricity. Equipping local, non-powered dams with generating capabilities has the potential to provide up to 12 gigawatts of cost-competitive, renewable energy at a lower cost than creating new powered dam structures.