This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 31, 2010

DOE, Interior, and Army Corps of Engineers to Cooperate on Hydropower

Photo of a long, rectangular dam which has river water pouring out of its openings.

DOE is working to expand the use of hydropower in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which together operate half of the nation's hydropower capacity.
Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

DOE, the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on March 24 to create a new federal approach to hydropower. The federal agencies have agreed to focus on increasing energy generation at federally owned facilities and to explore opportunities for new development of low-impact hydropower. The new agreement also provides an opportunity for DOE to connect its hydropower research and development efforts with the agencies that own, operate, and regulate federal water projects. The combined hydroelectric facilities of the Army Corps of Engineers and Interior's Bureau of Reclamation total about 34,000 megawatts, representing approximately half of the country's hydropower capacity.

Under the MOU, the agencies will identify specific federal facilities that will be well-suited as sites for sustainable hydropower, upgrade facilities and demonstrate new technologies at existing hydropower locations, coordinate research and development on advanced hydropower technologies, and increase hydropower generation through low-impact and environmentally sustainable approaches. The MOU is supported by detailed action items that the agencies have identified as areas of collaboration, including technology development and deployment, green hydropower certification, federal inland hydropower coordination, renewable energy integration and energy storage, and regulatory process facilitation. See the DOE press release, DOE's Wind and Water Power Program Web site, and the Bureau of Reclamation's Hydroelectric Power Web site.