RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Under the HydroWIRES Initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), RTI International (RTI), a nonprofit research institute, in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has launched a competition for the development of new hydropower scheduling solutions. The Hydropower Operations Optimization (H2Os) Prize offers a combined cash prize pool of up to $75,000 over three competition phases as an incentive for innovations in hydropower.
The H2Os Prize encourages diverse, multidisciplinary teams to help solve some of the most near-term challenges in the clean energy transition by improving the performance of hydropower system operations. The Department of Energy will accept applications from those familiar with hydropower, water management, machine learning, data science and/or optimization.
“Hydropower is becoming more important as the U.S. grid integrates more variable renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar. With this shift to a more sustainable power grid, there is a need to respond to demand flexibly and reliably. Hydropower is uniquely capable of supporting these operational needs when power production and water management objectives are considered jointly,” said Abby Watson, water resources engineer at RTI. “We are excited to have collaborated with NREL on the development of this prize. Our hope is that competitors discover new scheduling approaches that fully harness the benefits hydropower has to offer.”
“By tapping into all of hydropower’s benefits, we can help build flexible, reliable, and sustainable energy infrastructure,” said Director of WPTO Jennifer Garson. “Hydropower’s evolving role will be crucial to modernizing the grid and H2Os Prize participants can help unlock hydropower’s potential to support the grid while respecting environmental and water system needs.”
Phase 1 launched on April 6 and will run through May 20, 2022. Phases 2 and 3 will take place summer through fall 2022. Competitors may enter during any phase of the competition.