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DOE announces new opportunities for hydroelectric power technology developers

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The U.S. Department of Energy has made a pair of announcements designed to promote the development of hydroelectric power and other renewable energy technologies in support of the Obama administration's "all-of-the-above" plan.

The first, a DOE draft loan guarantee solicitation issued April 16, could provide as much as US$4 billion in loan guarantees for "innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located at the U.S. that would avoid, reduce or sequester greenhouse gases."

DOE said the Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Loan Guarantee is "intended to support technologies that are catalytic, replicable and market ready" and is designed to help overcome financial barriers in the deployment of "innovative, clean energy technologies."

While all projects meeting certain eligibility qualifications are allowed to apply for the program, DOE has identified five key areas of interest, including: advanced grid integration and storage; drop-in biofuels; waste-to-energy; enhancement of existing facilities; and efficiency improvements.

"Through our existing renewable energy loan guarantees, the Department's Loan Programs Office helped launch the U.S. utility-scale solar industry and other clean energy technologies that are now contributing to our clean energy portfolio," Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said. "We want to replicate that success by focusing on technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today."

DOE is currently soliciting public comment and feedback in defining the scope of the solicitation. More information on the draft loan guarantee can be found on the department's website here.

Meanwhile, DOE has also announced $4.4 million to support the application of advanced materials and manufacturing techniques in developing the "next generation" of hydropower technologies.

Called the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, DOE said advances in technology have the potential to boost the performance of new small hydroelectric plants. The funding will help researchers develop low-cost, integrated turbine units that can generate cost-competitive power at low-head sites.

More information can be found at DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) via the EERE's Water Power Program financial opportunities website.

The program adds to several other hydropower-related DOE funding opportunities announced earlier this year that focused on the American marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) sector.

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