Murkowski Welcomes Administration’s Decision to Increase Funding for Hydropower

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today applauded the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior for investing $26.6 million to advance hydropower technology.

“There is no question that hydropower is, and must continue to be, part of our energy solution,” Murkowski said. “The administration’s investment is a long-overdue down payment on expanding our use of hydro to generate clean, baseload power.”

Murkowski has long been a strong proponent of hydropower, an energy resource she says that is, unfortunately, too often overlooked. She has been outspoken in recent months over the administration’s reluctance to treat hydropower on par with other renewable energy resources.

The administration’s announcement comes after Murkowski was critical of DOE’s anemic budget request for hydropower at a hearing in February with Energy Secretary Steven Chu and again with acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Steven Chalk at the end of March.

Hydropower currently provides 7 percent of the nation’s electricity. In Alaska, hydropower accounts for 24 percent of the electricity generation.

“Hydropower is our nation’s largest source of renewable energy, yet its value is so under realized,” said Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Last month, Murkowski introduced the Hydropower Improvement Act (S. 629) and the Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Promotion Act (S. 630) to promote the development of clean, renewable hydropower resources, including ocean energy technologies such as wave, current and tidal energy. Both bills would provide federal aid and increased research and development for conventional and marine hydrokinetic energy.