Hydropower Operations Optimization (H2Os) Prize

Funding Agency:
Department of Energy

Help solve some of the most near-term challenges in the clean energy transition by improving the grid’s reliability and resiliency! By optimizing hydropower operations, hydropower can complement variable renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, that help power the grid.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) is launching the Hydropower Operations Optimization (H2Os) Prize to encourage the development of new solutions that can help advance hydropower’s contribution to the grid. Hydropower provides beneficial operational flexibility in timing and storage of energy that can be better leveraged to meet grid needs. This competition challenges innovators to employ modeling, data analytics, and machine learning to schedule hydropower operations in coordination with existing grid scheduling practices while respecting water management operations and constraints.

The three-phase competition is offering a combined cash prize pool of up to $75,000. Each phase will have increasing complexity and all phases are open to new and returning competitors.

  • Phase One Opens: April 6, 2022
  • Phase One Submission Closes: May 20, 2022
  • Phase One Winner Announcement and Phase Two Opens: June 23, 2022*
  • Phase Two Submission Closes: August 5, 2022*
  • Phase Two Winner Announcement and Phase Three Opens: September 8, 2022*
  • Phase Three Submission Closes: October 28, 2022*
  • Phase Three Winner Announcement: December 1, 2022*

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Through the competition, WPTO seeks solutions to address key hydropower technology development goals:

  • Hydropower Management Performance: Hydropower scheduling solutions that respect the water system’s physical and operational constraints.
  • Hydropower Generation Benefits: Economic and environmental benefits resulting from hydropower generation based on feasible hydropower output and electricity market energy prices.
  • Novel, scalable, and broadly applicable: Unique and innovative flexible solutions that apply to a variety of facilities within a range of modeling and institutional workflows.

Eligibility Requirements

The competition is open to private entities (for-profits and nonprofits), non-federal government entities such as states, counties, tribes, and municipalities, academic institutions, and individuals, subject to the following requirements:

• Individuals can compete alone or as a group. A representative of a private entity can also register the entity to compete by itself or as the lead organization of a group of entities. Teams can also be comprised of a mix of individuals and entities or organizations.

• An individual prize competitor (who is not competing as a member of a group) must be a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident.

• A group of individuals competing as one team may win, provided the team captain and Topcoder account holder for the team submission is a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident.  

• Individuals competing as part of a team may participate if they are legally allowed to work in the United States.

• Private entities must be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States with majority domestic ownership and control. If an entity seeking to compete does not have majority domestic ownership and control, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy may consider issuing a waiver of that eligibility requirement where (1) the entity otherwise meets the eligibility requirements; (2) the entity is incorporated in and maintains a primary place of business in the United States; and (3) the entity submits a compelling justification. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy may require additional information before making a determination on the waiver request. See 0 for more information on the waiver process.

• Academic institutions must be based in the United States.  

Funding Type



Grad/Prof Students


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

October 28, 2022