Open now: TEAMER, Hydro RFI, and 242 Hydro Incentive Program

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Water Power Technologies Office


May 28, 2020

May Water Wire

What’s Inside: This edition of Water Wire highlights funding opportunities, selections, and program strategy announcements; competition updates; new products; upcoming webinars and virtual eventsWPTO staff in the news; and additional hot topics for the month.

Continue to follow the Water Wire and emails from WPTO for the latest news and updates from the office. Reach out to with any inquiries or suggestions.

Estimated Read Time: 8 minutes

Funding, Selections, and Program Strategy Announcements

WPTO Issues Request for Information

Last month, DOE released a Request for Information (RFI) to gain strategic and technical feedback on both the foundational framing materials for the long-term Hydropower Program research and development strategy and the detailed research roadmap for the new HydroWIRES initiative. Through this RFI, WPTO solicits feedback from stakeholders across the hydropower community and other relevant sectors on WPTO’s framing of issues and   potential appropriate government role in addressing them. Results should help refine DOE’s hydropower strategy and HydroWIRES research to be most impactful for the nation. Responses are due June 24 by 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

View the full RFI on EERE Exchange.

Accepting Applications for Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program

The Energy Department is accepting applications for in the Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program’s latest round of $7 million in funding under section 242 of Energy Policy Act of 2005. The program provides funding for projects that add hydroelectric power generating capabilities to existing dams throughout the United States.

Applications for this new round of funding are due by July 2.

EERE Announces Winners of SBIR/STTR Phase I Release 2 Funding

WPTO selected 19 small businesses to receive funding through the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Programs. These small businesses will receive Phase I Release 2 grants that will enable demonstration of technical feasibility for innovations during the first phase of their research. Awardees had the opportunity to apply under several different topic areas, with individual Phase I awards ranging from up to $200,000 to $250,000, and a performance period of less than 1 year. WPTO awards were made in the following categories:

  • Innovative Sensing and Data Platforms for Water and Hydropower
  • Co-Development of Marine Energy Technology at Smaller Scales
  • Waterway Debris Remediation Powered by Marine Energy
  • Joint Topic—Water, Wind, and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Offices: Affordable, Grid-Friendly, High-Torque Direct-Drive Generators.

TEAMER Announces First Request for Technical Support

The U.S. Testing Expertise and Access to Marine Energy Research (TEAMER) Program is now accepting applications for its first Request for Technical Support (RFTS). The application period will close July 31.

The RFTS is open to applicants seeking technology support with modeling and analysis; laboratory and bench tests; and tank, flume, tunnel, and basin tests. Open-water testing will be available in future RFTS cycles. Applicants will be required to contact approved network facilities, which are listed on the TEAMER website, to discuss their testing needs prior to applying for the RFTS.

A prerecorded webinar, offering application information, will be available on June 2 at 9 a.m. Pacific Time. Visit the TEAMER website for more information about the program and to sign up for its newsletter.

The Pacific Ocean Energy Trust (POET) is network director for TEAMER, which is designed to provide marine energy technology developers and researchers with access to U.S.-based test facilities and technical expertise.

Prizes and Competitions

Competition Update: The 2020 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition Going Virtual

The U.S. Department of Energy Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC), originally scheduled to take place in person at the 2020 International Conference on Ocean Energy (now postponed), will be held virtually this summer.

The MECC challenges undergraduate and graduate students to develop unique solutions that could help advance marine energy. During the virtual event, 15 participating teams will showcase their competition deliverables.

MECC badge, text only.

Newly Released Products

Meet a Scientist (or Engineer!) with New Faces of STEM Series

You don’t need to leave your house to get to know science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals across the country. With DOE’s new STEM Rising: Faces of STEM series, you can watch quick videos to learn about all things STEM and what our National Laboratories and offices are doing to innovate and change the world. You’ll hear from people like Nicole Ellison, a lead facility structural engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, about why she loves her job making sure buildings are safe and secure, and Caroline Winters, a fire sciences researcher at Sandia National Laboratories, who studies how surfaces deform when set on fire or when exposed to incredibly high temperatures.

Subscribe to the DOE YouTube channel to receive alerts when new videos are added.

Sandia National Laboratories Releases Environmental Compliance Cost Assessment Fact Sheet

The Environmental Compliance Cost Assessment (ECCA) project team, which is led by Sandia, has just released a fact sheet that provides details about its activities.

Comprising working groups of academic, regulatory, and industry experts, the ECCA identifies and prioritizes marine energy cost-reduction strategies, critical information gaps, and targeted research needs. In the future, the ECCA team will publish a summary findings report of all work group meetings and progress.

Upcoming Webinars & Virtual Events

Now Virtual: Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2020

Join the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the ocean and Great Lakes community for the Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) on June 9. The one-day virtual event’s focus will be on the global issue of protecting biodiversity. Plenaries and concurrent breakout sessions will cover how science and technology are advancing understanding of the marine environment, the role of protected areas in conserving biodiversity, and how to engage people as stewards.

As always, registration for CHOW is free.

WPTO Staff & Researchers in the News

WPTO Fellow Receives Hydrological Processes “Outstanding Paper of the Year” Award

WPTO Marine Policy Fellow Charles Scaife, along with co-authors Arik Tashie and Lawrence Band, recently received the Outstanding Paper of the Year award from Hydrological Processes on their paper, “Transpiration and subsurface controls of streamflow recession characteristics.” Through modeling and empirical analyses, the authors examined the impacts of trees and vegetation on reducing the flow in streams after a storm. Congratulations, Charles!

National Laboratory Project Manager Guest Blogs for World Ocean Initiative

Last month, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s David Hume acted as a guest blogger for the Economist Group’s World Ocean Initiative website. Hume’s blog post, “North America’s blooming ocean-tech innovation ecosystem,” offers his thoughts on the role innovation hubs play in supporting the Blue Economy.

In Case You Missed It

Recording Available: WPTO’s May 12 Semiannual Stakeholder Webinar

WPTO held its third semiannual stakeholder webinar on Tuesday, May 12. Joined by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power David Solan and Golden Field Office Director Derek Passarelli, WPTO program representatives highlighted the recently released 2019 Project Peer Review report, open funding opportunities, and project updates.

If you missed the webinar, you can check out the recording of this and other webinars in this series on the WPTO website.

2019 Peer Review Report Released

On April 22, WPTO released its 2019 Project Peer Review report, which presents the results from a 3-day, portfolio-wide review and shares how the Marine and Hydrokinetics and Hydropower programs intend to address reviewers’ feedback. This was the first office-wide review that considered WPTO as an independent office within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

HydroWIRES Initiative Publishes Report Comparing Pumped Storage Configurations

WPTO’s HydroWIRES Initiative released a new report comparing open-loop pumped storage hydropower (PSH), where there is an ongoing hydrologic connection to a natural body of water, to closed-loop PSH, where the reservoirs are not connected to an outside body of water. The report provides a detailed analysis of the potential environmental effects of both configurations; describes how existing projects in other countries are avoiding, minimizing, or mitigating these effects; and examines how proposed U.S. projects will address them.

Recording Available: WPTO Joins Women in Energy Webinar

On April 16, WPTO’s Senior Research Analyst Alison Hewett joined Building Energy Technologies Office Deputy Director Valerie Reed and Advanced Manufacturing Office Deputy Director Valri Lightner for DOE’s Women Leading Sustainable Energy Collaborations webinar.

The webinar recording and slide presentation are now available.

Recording Available: Webinar on Argonne Projects

Argonne National Laboratory staff presented a webinar on April 9 to the National Council on Electricity Policy (NCEP). The webinar, organized by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, introduced Argonne and its efforts to support state decision makers. Two Argonne projects were highlighted during the webinar: (1) a WPTO-funded project to develop a valuation framework for pumped-storage hydropower plants, and (2) the Energy Zones Mapping Tool, funded by DOE’s Office of Electricity.

The recording of the webinar is available on the NCEP website.

WPTO Investments in Turbine and Monitoring Technology Research Help Hydropower Dams Improve Water Quality

Through a partnership between General Electric (GE) and Eagle Creek Renewable Energy (formerly Cube Hydro), the High Rock hydropower facility received an upgrade, which included installations of GE’s aerating turbine and Eagle Creek’s aerating valve. The valves are complemented by an autonomous water quality monitoring system created by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to enable safe, timely, and comprehensive data collection. Combined, these systems increase dissolved oxygen in the Yadkin River and High Rock’s ability to monitor water quality—assisting in the growth and survival of many aquatic species such as the spotted bass, redbreast sunfish, and flathead catfish—to the delight of other wildlife and local fisherman.

Check out the project overview video to learn more.