River Energy Project Successfully Launched, Hydropower Workforce Report

ENERGY.GOV - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
The Water Wire

August 15, 2019

Energy Department Funding Awardee Launches Sustainable River Energy Project in Alaska

The ORPC RivGen Power System prior to installation on the Kvichak River in Igiugig, Alaska.

On July 17, Energy Department-funded ORPC unveiled its commercial RivGen® Power System, a hydrokinetic system designed for rivers and shallow tidal waters to help power remote communities. Developed in partnership with the Igiugig Village Council, the first commercial project’s launch was attended by Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy and more than 60 people on the banks of the Kvichak River where the project will be deployed. The 40-kW power system will provide up to one-half of the community’s electricity needs annually and will reduce use of expensive diesel fuel.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Releases Hydropower Workforce Report

Released during the HydroVision International Conference in July, NREL’s Workforce Development for U.S. Hydropower report provides a summary of the current U.S. hydropower industry workforce and educational programs based on data from a number of different sources, and examines potential future hydropower workforce needs. It highlights future scenarios under which tens of thousands of new jobs could be added in the coming 10-20 years, and the size of the U.S. hydropower workforce—which encompasses those working at hydropower plants, in construction, engineering, manufacturing and environmental sciences—could potentially double.

Marine Energy Collegiate Competition: Powering the Blue Economy

man conducting marine energy on a raft.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office, announced that it will host the first Collegiate Marine Energy Competition designed to challenge interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of programs to identify new market opportunities and ways for marine energy to reduce energy limitations across the growing blue economy.

The Competition will be held in conjunction with the International Conference on Ocean Energy in Washington, DC, in May 2020 and provide students with real-world experience and industry connections that will help them prepare for future careers in marine energy and ocean science & technology. An informational webinar about the competition will be held on August 29 at 12 p.m. ET. Register here.

Upcoming Webinar: DTOcean Version 2.0 Software Overview and Demonstration

Join Sandia National Laboratories researchers August 29, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT for a tour of the world’s only open source, fully parametric, ocean energy array design tool that considers the entire life cycle. The software—known as DTOcean— finds optimal array designs that identify cost drivers and minimize the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) which helps industry to realize cost-competitiveness for marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies. The research team will provide an overview of the software and demonstrate its cutting-edge features.

The DTOcean project was an international collaboration that gathered 18 partners from 11 countries to accelerate industrial development of ocean energy power generation knowledge, and providing design tools for deploying the first generation of wave and tidal energy converter arrays.

Reddit AskScience Ask Me Anything (AMA) Series: Pumped Storage Hydropower

Last month, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Dhruv Bhatnagar, Research Engineer, and Bo Saulsbury, Project Manager for Environmental Assessment and Engineering, hosted a Reddit AMA about pumped storage hydropower. The AMA had 285 comments and was upvoted 94%. 

Waves to Water Prize Informational Webinar Now Available and Upcoming Submission Deadline

ocean waves spilling into a glass

The Waves to Water Prize is a four-stage competition that offers up to $2.5 million in cash prizes with the aim to demonstrate small, modular, cost-competitive desalination systems that use the power of ocean waves to provide clean drinking water for disaster recovery and in remote and coastal communities. It is the first prize under the Water Security Grand Challenge, a White House-initiated, DOE-led framework to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water.

WPTO’s July 16, 2019, informational webinar about the Energy Department’s Waves to Water Prize is now available online. The webinar covered how to participate in the prize, details about the four stages, tips on leveraging the American-Made Network, and preparing a successful submission package for the first concept stage which is open now through September 11, 2019.

Register Now: WPTO Peer Review

Don’t miss this opportunity to engage in stimulating discussion that could inform the future of water power R&D! WPTO will host its biennial Program and Project Peer Review October 8–10, 2019, at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia. Leading subject-matter experts from industry, academia, NGOs and federal agencies will evaluate projects funded by DOE based on their contribution to the office’s mission and goals, track progress made against stated objectives, and assess the office's overall strategies and performance.

This year, WPTO’s Peer Review will enable both reviewers and other stakeholders to provide recommendations on the most impactful use of taxpayer funding and to accelerate industry development in water power technologies. We hope you will join us for this exciting review! Registration is free but limited so register now!

Now Open: Annual Call for User Access to Energy Systems Integration Facility

Two people  evaluating the performance of the generator and power conversion components of the company's RivGen® Power System at the ESIF.

The annual call for user access to NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) is now open. Researchers with U.S. Department of Energy and NREL mission-aligned projects may apply for access to ESIF laboratory capabilities. For application details and more information, including registration for an informational webinar, please visit the ESIF website

DOE SBIR/STTR Phase 0 Assistance Program

The Energy Department funds a Phase 0 program to assist eligible small businesses navigate the complexities of the Small Business Innovation Research/ Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) proposal process. The SBIR and STTR programs offer seed funding to small businesses to support development and commercialization of novel ideas and groundbreaking research. 

In Case You Missed It:

Forbes: Wave-Powered Desalination Promises to Deliver Clean Water to Developing Countries And Island Nations

Energy Department-funded Resolute Marine Energy was featured in Forbes last month. The company’s innovative technology can use the power of ocean waves to produce fresh water without the costly infrastructure of desalination plants. 

FAST Prize Concept Stage Winners Announced

Nine winning concepts from a group of 22 finalists were selected to advance to the Incubation Stage of the Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) Commissioning for Pumped-Storage Hydropower (PSH) Prize, a competition seeking novel solutions and technologies that address the non-regulatory challenges PSH developers face when deploying new storage projects. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and its U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory partners—Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory—will provide 50 hours of in-kind laboratory support to the nine finalists during the Incubation Stage. The prize culminates with the finalists presenting their ideas at a pitch contest October 8, 2019. Up to three grand prize winners will be awarded up to $550,000 in National Laboratory service vouchers and cash prizes.


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