The mission of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Hydropower Program is to conduct research and development (R&D) that will improve the technical, societal, and environmental benefits of hydropower and provide cost-competitive technologies that enable the development of new and incremental hydropower capacity, adding diversity to the nation's energy supply.
The Hydropower Program is organized under the DOE Office of Wind and Hydropower Technologies in Washington, DC. A concerted effort is made to coordinate DOE's research and development with that of other federal agencies and industry, including both private and public entities involved with hydropower development. An open peer-review process involving industry and environmental resource agencies ensures that stakeholders are involved and that high-priority research needs are being addressed. A Technical Committee is maintained to review progress, evaluate results, and ensure coordination with related R&D activities of other agencies and industry. This Technical Committee consists of experts from the hydropower industry and state and Federal agencies. In addition, the reviews of specialists who are not members of the Technical Committee are obtained, when appropriate. Active coordination provides "situational awareness," avoids duplication of research efforts, and creates a synergy among related research effects.
Three of DOE's National Laboratories with experience in hydropower issues provide technical support to the Program: Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The lead laboratory for engineering and program management support is INL. ORNL is the lead laboratory for environmental and computational support. PNNL is involved in biological testing and technology development studies, taking advantage of their experience with fish and test facilities. A combination of industry, universities, and federal facilities conduct research activities for the Hydropower Program. Where federal facilities have the equipment and personnel to reduce the overall cost to DOE, they are used for conducting R&D.
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