WPTO Releases Its 2020–2021 Accomplishments Report

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Water Power Technologies Office

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March 16, 2022

Welcome to the Water Wire, a bimonthly snapshot of all things water power. This month’s newsletter takes approximately six minutes to read. 

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Did You Know? 

Although the United States only makes up 5% of the world’s population, it is the second-largest energy producer in the world. Continue reading to learn about innovative water power technologies and initiatives helping to meet the energy demand.

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Letter From the Director

WPTO Director Jennifer Garson

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), I am pleased to present our 2020–2021 Accomplishments Report. This report highlights numerous achievements and results from WPTO-supported research across our Hydropower and Marine Energy programs. Throughout the year, our partners maintained an unwavering commitment to these projects and many others. Our clean energy future can only be realized with the help of people like you, so thank you—to the engineers, students, scientists, community organizations, and countless others—for your hard work.

Upcoming Deadlines

Announcements & Opportunities

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WPTO Releases 2020–2021 Accomplishments Report: WPTO released its 2020–2021 Accomplishments Report, highlighting dozens of WPTO-funded research, development, and demonstration projects that contribute to crucial efforts to address climate change and transition our energy system. Read the report to learn about key hydropower and marine energy projects and accomplishments over the past year.

Jennifer Garson Becomes WPTO Director: After nearly a year serving as acting director, Jennifer Garson has been named the official director of WPTO. In Jennifer’s four years with WPTO, she has designed and led some of the office’s key activities and initiatives, including the Powering the Blue Economy™ initiative and a portfolio of prizes and interagency grants, increasing the impact of federal funding toward nontraditional financial mechanisms. Jennifer’s efforts have been steadily increasing the utilization of prizes, creative lab-directed funding, Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer programs, and other competitive solicitations. Over the last decade, she has worked across DOE, the federal government, and in partnership with the private sector to launch and create new programs, prizes, and commercialization approaches. 

Inaugural MYPP Outlines Future of WPTO-Funded R&D: WPTO released its first Multi-Year Program Plan, detailing the office’s research priorities in the years to come. This comprehensive, forward-looking report outlines strategic plans to advance hydropower and marine energy to help meet the nation’s energy and sustainability goals. The report is organized by activity area and includes objectives through 2030.

ORISE Selects Three Students To Advance Marine Energy Projects: EERE announced this year’s selections for the Marine and Hydrokinetic Graduate Student Research Program. Funded by WPTO and administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, this program gives students the opportunity to advance marine energy projects with access to increased resources, expertise, and facilities. 

Congress Provides Increased Funding to WPTO: On March 11, 2022, President Biden signed the omnibus spending package for FY 2022, which provides $162 million for WPTO. This funding represents an increase over the office’s prior year budget level and the office’s largest annual budget to date. Learn more about the WPTO budget as well as the hydropower and marine energy funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

TEAMER RFTS 5 Winners Announced, Submit Applications for RFTS 6 Now: Testing & Expertise for Marine Energy (TEAMER) recently announced recipients of their fifth RFTS. The nine awarded projects will receive funding to further their marine energy technologies. TEAMER is currently accepting applications for its sixth RFTS for open-water testing for marine energy devices. The deadline to submit applications is March 24, 2022.

Products & Publications 

Article Highlights WPTO’s Commitment to Equity and Inclusion: Last month, in honor of Black History Month, WPTO published an article outlining its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Learn more about the deliberate steps WPTO is taking to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion are prioritized throughout water power R&D.

Ocean Energy Systems 2021 Report: Ocean Energy Systems, the International Energy Agency’s marine energy technology collaboration program, recently released its Annual 2021 Report. The report provides an overview of Ocean Energy Systems’ activities from the past year and includes updated country reviews. DOE contributed to the U.S. chapter, highlighting the U.S. marine energy sector’s progress in 2021 and preparations for additional deployments in 2022.

Upcoming Events

Waves to Water Prize Testing and Outreach Events

March 30, 2022–April 12, 2022

Join the Waves to Water Prize finalists (in person or virtually) at Jennette’s Pier in North Carolina’s Outer Banks as the teams demonstrate some of the first-ever wave energy-powered desalination systems. The public demonstration will be the first look at brand-new innovations and an opportunity to engage with competitors, DOE representatives, and professionals in the wave energy industry. Visit the DRINK Finale webpage to learn more about the prize finale and outreach events planned in conjunction with the testing. 

Register for the event.

Funding is available to support student attendance at the finale events.

WPTO at National Hydropower Association's Waterpower Week

April 5–7, 2022, Washington, D.C.

Waterpower Week 2022 will bring asset owners, developers, and other waterpower industry organizations face-to-face with those affecting waterpower’s role in the clean energy future. WPTO is excited to attend this event in-person! The event will feature several speakers from WPTO, including a WPTO-focused panel on April 6, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. ET.

In Case You Missed It

WPTO Awards $25 Million for R&D at PacWave South Test Facility: WPTO announced eight selections to advance marine energy technology at the PacWave South test site. Selected projects aim to improve wave energy technologies’ commercial viability and support the United States’ goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

EERE Report Unpacks Stakeholder Feedback on Inclusive Energy Innovation Request for Information: Following a June 2021 Request For Information, EERE released a report summarizing stakeholder feedback surrounding inclusivity in clean energy funding opportunities. The report identifies current and potential barriers for certain communities to obtain funding and how these barriers will be addressed moving forward.

Apply Now for ETIPP Technical Assistance: Remote, island, and islanded communities that experience challenges related to frequent energy disruptions, threats to energy infrastructure, and high energy costs can now apply to ETIPP. Applications for technical assistance are due April 15, 2022.

Social Spotlight

Water power.

EERE on Facebook — Feb. 11, 2022

In 1880, a generator powered by a water turbine produced light for a theater and storefront in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Interested in more hydropower history? Check out this interactive timeline of how hydropower has progressed in the United States!

Follow EERE on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for daily EERE news, announcements, and general clean energy content.

WPTO/DOE in the News