The US Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) has opened a $5m fund to help support the commercialisation and adoption of water power systems and solutions.

The WTPO said that water power technologies such as hydropower and marine energy are key to achieving a clean electricity sector by 2035.

Owing to the predictability of water flows such systems are well-suited to help balance an electricity grid, particularly when it includes renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, which are subject to fluctuation.

The office, which enables research into emerging marine energy and hydropower systems, will provide the funds to enable entrepreneurship and support business creation, it said in statement.

This, it argues, will help to create competition, which in turn will drive economic innovation.

In the first round of funding, the WPTO will award up to $100,000 each for up to eight projects that will last six to nine months. In the second phase, it will select up to four projects to receive up to $1m each, lasting two to three years.

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Applicants must submit a concept paper by 7 August 2024.

Earlier this year, the DOE selected two marine energy projects that received $6m for the development of a tidal energy research, development and demonstration pilot site.

Orcas Power and Light Cooperative, based in Eastsound, Washington, and ORPC, based in Portland, Maine, shared the investment.

According to GlobalData, Power Technology’s parent company, hydropower accounted for 8% of the US’ total power generation in recent years.

From 2010 to 2021, large hydropower capacity increased at a compound annual growth rate of 0.12%.

In February 2024, the DOE also launched a $14.5m funding opportunity to resolve challenges in marine and ocean renewable energy industries.