NREL offers a range of capabilities in hydropower research to achieve responsible deployment of hydropower technologies.
NREL is the only U.S. national laboratory dedicated to advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency. NREL's water research leverages decades of experience in renewable and hybrid energy system analysis and world-class infrastructure to increase the value of hydropower technologies.
NREL's hydropower research capabilities include:
We use our electrical and mechanical laboratory validation and optimization capabilities to improve performance and reliability, decrease capital costs, and reduce risk for small hydropower technologies. Our structural testing infrastructure can also be used to validate novel concepts.
NREL's long-term partnerships with the hydropower industry have led to the development of numerous hydropower design and simulation tools. In addition, our staff is involved in the development of standards to encourage acceptance and global deployment of hydropower generation.
NREL's hydropower researchers develop cost models and tools to evaluate the economic potential of power-generating devices for all technology readiness levels.
Our legal and regulatory analysis helps industry develop hydropower projects by providing information about hydropower-related regulatory requirements, techniques for navigating the regulatory approval process, and supporting quantitative and qualitative data.
NREL collaborates with system operators, utilities, reliability organizations, and equipment manufacturers to optimize the integration of water-powered generation resources into the grid and develops operating practices, energy storage approaches, and advanced technologies that maximize their value. This work supports initiatives such as HydroWIRES.
NREL's market acceleration activities support the next generation of water power professionals. We leverage decades of experience engaging with stakeholder communities to understand barriers to technology adoption, identify issues and drivers, provide feedback to the R&D community, and facilitate market adoption.