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President approves US$5M for hydro R&D

An energy and water appropriations bill signed into law by President Clinton has allocated US$5M to the US Department of Energy for hydro power research and development.

This primarily consists of the largest appropriation to date for the advanced hydro power turbine programme. While the final amount for the new fiscal year that began on 1 October 1999 is greater than the US$2.76M proposed by the House, funding is less than the US$7M the Clinton administration had initially sought.

The US$5M for the cost-shared research and development of fish friendly turbines was included in US$362M appropriated for renewable resource technologies in fiscal year 2000. Congress appropriated US$2M for the advanced hydro power turbine programme in fiscal year 1999, although DOE later added US$1.25M to that through a discretionary spending fund.

Programme funds will be managed at the DOE’s Idaho operations office and will be used to continue work already initiated, including tests on fish friendly turbines and biological research. Funds will also be used to start new related activities. Additionally, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration, hydro utilities and other companies are expected to provide resources toward the development of a fish friendly turbine.