Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy announced an incentive program for developers adding hydroelectric power generating capabilities to existing non-powered dams throughout the United States.

Hydropower is the nation's leading source of renewable energy and helps the country avoid over 200 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year, while providing about 7 percent of our electricity. More than 80,000 non-powered dams throughout the country provide services such as regulating local waterways and controlling inland navigation. Equipping local, non-powered dams with generating capabilities has the potential to provide up to 12 gigawatts of cost-competitive, renewable energy at a lower cost than creating new powered dam structures, without impacting critical habitats, parks, or wilderness areas. The funding opportunity announced today supports developers who have already added electrical generating capacity to these existing facilities.

As outlined in Section 242 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, $3.6 million in funding is available for incentive payments to owners or operators of qualified hydroelectric facilities based on the number of kilowatt hours of hydroelectric energy generated by the facility in calendar year 2013. Qualified applicants may receive up to 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour for hydroelectric energy generated by the facility during the incentive period. Qualified owners or operators who have added hydroelectric generation to a non-powered dam or conduit after 2005, and where the facility was built prior to 2005, are eligible to apply. In order to qualify for the Section 242 Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program, applicants must review the final guidance and supply the required information. Applications are due February 20, 2015.

The Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. More information about this and other hydropower technologies can be found on the Water Power Program's hydropower research and development Web page at www.energy.gov/eere/water/hydropower-research-development