PRIMRE/Prizes & Competitions

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Prizes & Competitions

Prizes represent tools for the Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) to find solutions by tapping into the ingenuity and creativity of crowds. These prize models support the Administration’s work to spur manufacturing, develop innovative solutions and products, and create new domestic jobs and opportunities through public-private partnerships. Currently, WPTO is co-funding a National Academies project on the “Role of Inducement Prizes” which produce a report that analyzes the role of inducement prizes in the American innovation process.

Prizes can help introduce, expand, and evolve what’s possible for both the hydropower and marine energy industries. They can enable WPTO–and the federal government– to:

  • Inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to solve difficult and important problems.
  • Establish ambitious goals without having to predict which team or approach is most likely to succeed.
  • Reach beyond the usual stakeholders to increase the number of perspectives working to develop solutions for a specific problem.
  • Foster interdisciplinary collaboration and perspectives, reflective of the modern research environment.
  • Prizes and challenges make it easy for anyone to participate bringing people together from private sector and government to leverage resources.
  • Make innovation easy, fast, and agile. Rapid innovation cycles will help boost competitiveness and accelerate the transition of inventions to industry.
  • Collaborate closely with other federal agencies in the design and implementation of prizes through Challenge.gov.


Every prize is structured differently, and the details matter. Make sure to follow the detailed instructions to submit your entry correctly and before the posted deadline.

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Ocean Observing Prize
The Powering the Blue Economy™: Ocean Observing Prize seeks innovators to integrate marine renewable energy with ocean observation platforms, ultimately revolutionizing our capability to collect the data needed to understand, map, and monitor the ocean.
MECC Badge
Marine Energy Collegiate Competition
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is hosting a challenge for university students to advance one of the most up-and-coming industries: marine energy.
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Waves to Water
The Waves to Water prize is a 4-Stage competition that offers up to $2.5 million in cash prizes, with a goal to demonstrate small, modular, cost-competitive desalination systems that use the power of ocean waves to provide clean drinking water for disaster recovery and for remote and coastal communities.
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FAST Prize
Share ideas to reduce the time, cost, and risk from concept to commissioning, excluding permitting, for pumped-storage hydropower (PSH). This competition is closed and finalists have been chosen. Follow their progress at the competition website.

This portal is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) under Contract Number DE- AC36-08GO28308 with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Contract Number DE-AC05-76RL01830 with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Contract Number DE-NA0003525 with Sandia National Laboratories, as part of the MHK Data Communities project. The United States Government retains, and the publisher, by accepting the article for publication, acknowledges that the United States Government retains a non-exclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, world-wide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this manuscript, or allow others to do so, for United States Government purposes.