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DoE announces up to US$32m to expand hydropower

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced up to US$32 million in Recovery Act funding to modernise the existing hydropower infrastructure in the USA, increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

The DoE investment is designed to support the deployment of hydropower 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 Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “Investing in our existing hydropower infrastructure will strengthen our economy, reduce pollution and help us toward energy independence.”

Secretary Chu also highlighted another benefit of hydropower – that it can be stored in the forms of dams and released when needed.

The 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, DoE says.

Hydropower 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.

Projects are expected to begin in 2010.

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