Illustration/ Triton wave energy device concept, developed by Oscilla Power (Courtesy of Oscilla Power)

US DOE’s nearly $5M grant to boost small businesses in hydropower and marine energy 

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) has launched a funding opportunity of $4.8 million to support programs that accelerate the commercialization and support of hydropower and/or marine energy businesses.

Illustration/ Triton wave energy device concept, developed by Oscilla Power (Courtesy of Oscilla Power)

The initiative seeks to boost competition, innovation, and economic development by offering commercialization services and support to entrepreneurs and small businesses in hydropower and/or marine energy. 

According to the U.S. DOE, this opportunity will fund projects under the Water Power Incubation and Acceleration, focusing on entrepreneurship, accelerating water power innovation, and supporting business creation and growth across the U.S. 

New or expanded incubators and accelerators will also be able to collaborate, strengthening the innovation network and speeding up the water power technologies to market, said U.S. DOE.

The funding opportunity will have two phases. In the first phase, WPTO will award up to $100,000 each to up to eight projects, lasting six to nine months. In the second phase, WPTO will select up to four projects to receive up to $1 million each, lasting two to three years.

Applicants have to submit a concept paper by 5 PM ET on August 7, 2024, to be eligible to submit a full application.

Water power technologies, such as hydropower and marine energy are crucial for achieving a clean electricity sector by 2035 and a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050, said U.S. DOE. These technologies rely on water movement and flow, making them predictable and reliable, which helps balance an electricity grid with high levels of variable renewable energy like wind and solar.

In February 2024, the U.S. DOE selected two marine energy projects that received $6 million for the development of a tidal energy research, development, and demonstration pilot site. A team led by Orcas Power and Light Cooperative (OPALCO), based in Eastsound, Washington, and a team led by ORPC, based in Portland, Maine, shared the investment.

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In terms of other news coming from the U.S. DOE, in January 2024, it launched a $14.5 million funding opportunity, aiming to address challenges in marine and ocean renewable energy industries and to encourage innovation. The funding, released by the DOE’s WPTO and Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO), supports foundational research at domestic higher education institutions, including those serving minorities.