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Improving Hydropower’s Value Through Informed Decision-Making

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) announced a Notice of Opportunity for Technical Assistance (NOTA) for Improving Hydropower’s Value Through Informed Decision-Making. Part of WPTO’s HydroWIRES (Water Innovation for a Resilient Electricity System) Initiative, this opportunity will provide hydropower decision makers—such as utilities and system operators—with National Lab expertise and capabilities to address current challenges and capture new opportunities for their systems.

Additionally, the work under this NOTA can help to validate National Lab-led modeling, analysis, and tools developed under the HydroWIRES Initiative for the benefit of the broader hydropower community, as well as further our collective understanding of possible roles for hydropower in an evolving grid.

Topic areas for technical assistance include:

Participation in Energy Imbalance Markets. This topic will provide the selected entity with analytical support to assess the potential benefits of joining an energy imbalance market based on location, supply and demand resources, transmission system infrastructure, and scheduling/dispatch practices.

  1. Value of Inflow Forecasting Tools and Practices. This topic will support a hydropower operator to evaluate the latest forecast tools and explore risk-based decision making to enhance hydropower value for electricity markets, price forecasts, and resource scheduling.

  2. Hydropower in Integrated Resource Planning. This topic will support the selected entity in improving the tools and capabilities for representing and evaluating hydropower and pumped storage in integrated resource plans.

  3. Optimization of Hybrid Hydropower and Storage Systems. This topic will support a hydropower asset owner in evaluating the costs and benefits of adding energy storage systems to a hydropower plant or plants, including evaluation of financial performance and energy storage size selection.

  4. Open Topic. The open topic allows applicants to request assistance with other decision-making questions regarding hydropower’s role in the evolving grid.


Partnerships between the National Labs and industry on these NOTA topic areas can help stakeholders  better understand how to develop solutions to industry challenges, including addressing key barriers to hydropower decision making and planning. DOE anticipates providing technical assistance to up to six recipients.


Each recipient will receive assistance from specifically assembled teams comprising subject matter experts from one or more DOE National Laboratories. Interested applicants must submit initial concept papers by December 18, 2020. Full applications will be due January 29, 2021.  A live webinar is scheduled for November 4, 2020, at 2 p.m. ET to provide information on the FOA to potential applicants.  Contact us for grant writing assistance.

The goal of WPTO’s HydroWIRES Initiative is to understand, enable, and improve hydropower and pumped storage hydropower’s contributions to reliability, resilience, and integration in the rapidly evolving U.S. electricity system. To learn more about WPTO and the HydroWIRES Initiative, visit the WPTO website.

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