This special interest group is for professionals to connect and discuss all types of carbon-free power alternatives, including nuclear, renewable, tidal and more.

Post

Tapping Hydropower’s Potential: New Hydropower Prize Challenges Innovators To Improve Grid Reliability and Resiliency

Brittany Enos's picture
Communications Specialist National Renewable Energy Laboratory

I work at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as a communications professional, supporting the water power team.

  • Member since 2022
  • 4 items added with 918 views
  • Apr 12, 2022
  • 386 views

As one of the most reliable and well-established renewable energy resources, hydropower has the potential to play a pivotal role in the nation’s power grid. Hydropower already provides 37% of total U.S. renewable electricity generation, but between the mix of variable energy resources powering the nation and an uptick in extreme weather events, grid reliability has become a central focus of the clean energy transition.

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE's) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) launched the Hydropower Operations Optimization (H2Os) Prize, in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), to support a reliable, resilient grid. Now open for submissions, the new prize will offer a combined cash prize pool of up to $75,000 to encourage the development of cutting-edge solutions that can help advance hydropower’s contributions as the United States works to decarbonize the power grid by 2035.

The new H2Os Prize challenges innovators to develop cutting-edge solutions that can help advance hydropower’s contribution to the grid. Graphic by NREL

“H2Os Prize participants can help the nation’s energy infrastructure become more flexible, sustainable, and modernized by leveraging all of hydropower’s benefits,” said Clayton Barrows, NREL’s principal investigator for the H2Os Prize. “With the right tools and methods, hydropower can significantly improve the grid’s reliability, resiliency, and overall performance.”

The H2Os Prize challenges innovators to employ modeling, data analytics, and machine learning to create new ways for hydropower systems to coordinate with existing grid scheduling practices and meet water management needs, such as water supply, environmental flow requirements, and flood management.

The new competition supports WPTO’s Hydropower and Water Innovation for a Resilient Energy System (HydroWIRES) Initiative by focusing on hydropower’s complementary role as an integrator of variable renewables, like wind and solar. When the wind slows and the sun sets, dams and reservoirs can kick in to add power quickly and cut back again when breezes pick up and the sun rises.

Through the competition, WPTO seeks solutions to address key hydropower technology development goals:

  • Hydropower Management Performance: Hydropower scheduling solutions that respect the water system’s physical and operational constraints
  • Hydropower Generation Benefits: Economic and environmental benefits resulting from hydropower generation based on feasible hydropower output and electricity market energy prices.
  • Novel, Scalable, and Broadly Applicable: Unique and innovative flexible solutions that apply to a variety of facilities within a range of modeling and institutional workflows.

The prize will run in three distinct phases of increasing complexity, all open to new and returning competitors. The Phase 1 submission window will close on May 20, 2022. The H2Os Prize encourages diverse, multidisciplinary teams and welcomes applications from those familiar with hydropower, machine learning, data science, and/or optimization. Help solve near-term challenges in the clean energy transition by improving the performance of hydropower system operations!

The H2Os Prize is funded by WPTO and administered by NREL in partnership with RTI InternationalLearn more about participating in the prize and contact WPTOPrizes@ee.doe.gov for more information.

Brittany Enos's picture
Thank Brittany for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Discussions
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.
Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Apr 12, 2022

The H2Os Prize challenges innovators to employ modeling, data analytics, and machine learning to create new ways for hydropower systems to coordinate with existing grid scheduling practices and meet water management needs, such as water supply, environmental flow requirements, and flood management

This sounds like a great way to tap into already developing technology to squeeze every last drop (pun intended!) from the country's hydropower resources. 

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Apr 13, 2022

Brittany, This is brilliant. InArizona we have 7 large hydro damsin the desert . They are all 50 years old or more. They have never been improved and have the potential to double their output. Just like the light bulb and PC the technology has improved to make these all so much better. I hope the H20s prize will inspire the improvments.

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »