FAST Commissioning for Pumped-Storage Hydropower Prize

FAST Commissioning for Pumped-Storage Hydropower Prize

For next-generation pumped-storage hydropower development and the encouragement of exploration for new use cases of PSH. Read Overview...
Up to 3 winners and up to $550k of combined cash prizes & voucher support

FAST Commissioning for Pumped-Storage Hydropower Prize


Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) to Commissioning

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) invites you to share your ideas to reduce the time, cost, and risk from concept to commissioning, excluding permitting, for pumped-storage hydropower (PSH). Finalists will receive vouchers for up to 50 hours of support from one of four DOE national laboratories to prepare for a pitch contest which will result in up to 3 winners and up to $550,000 of combined cash prizes and voucher support.

The Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) Commissioning for Pumped-Storage Hydropower Prize aims to attract ideas to reduce the time, cost, and risk required to commission PSH projects. This is the first prize of its kind and is structured to support anyone with a great idea and the motivation to develop their idea into a full business concept.

Today’s electricity system is changing rapidly and hydropower and PSH have an essential role in contributing to the resilience, reliability, and affordability of the U.S. power system. PSH is by far the largest source of energy storage on the grid, and it will play a key role in supporting increased integration of variable generation resources. But large capital investments and long lead times for PSH commissioning are deterrents to would-be developers and utilities.

The goal of the prize is to catalyze new solutions, designs, and strategies to accelerate PSH development by reducing the time, cost and risk to commission PSH. Ideas could include innovative PSH ideas, new layouts, creative construction management, improved construction equipment, application of advanced manufacturing, or standardization of equipment.

Updates 5

Concept Stage Winner Announcement

July 24, 2019, 10:23 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Winners of the FAST Prize were announced yesterday at the HydroVision conference in Portland, OR. We’d like to congratulate our nine winners and thank everyone who submitted to the contest! The judges had a very difficult task of selecting winners from the extremely well qualified and innovative pool of submissions that we received. Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the first stage of the prize! We invite everyone to continue to follow the prize and participate on the HeroX forums.  

You can see the winners for yourself and learn more about the announcement in the NREL Press Release.

FAST Prize status update

July 11, 2019, 7:58 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Thank you for your continued patience as we choose our finalists. We’re taking a bit more time to announce the finalists publicly but expect a notice on July 23. In the meantime, please reach out with any questions.

-The FAST Prize Team

Judging Update - Winner Announcement on July 10

July 1, 2019, 4:12 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Hi Innovators,

Thanks so much for your patience! We’ve decided to spend a little extra time reviewing the exceptional proposals you’ve all submitted, so please hold tight! We’ll be announcing the winners July 10, and don’t worry: it’ll be worth the wait.

In the meantime, post any questions you have on the forum, and keep working to gather support for your entry.

-The FAST Prize Team

FAST Prize Extension

May 20, 2019, 11:44 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Hi Innovators,


To give all of you a bit more time to finalize your applications and put together the best ideas you can, we’re extending the deadline to June 7!


Don’t forget to use this time to build your support network and ask any questions you have about the rules and the application process.


For those of you interested in the prize that do not meet the eligibility requirements in the rules in section 1.2, please feel free to reach out to other competitors on the community page. You also may want to review a newly posted answer in the FAQs.


Good luck!

-The FAST Prize Team

Asset library now available to help you promote your ideas!

April 26, 2019, 9:09 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Hi FAST Prize Innovators,

We know you’re working hard on your applications, so to help you find some support, we’ve put together this asset library for you to use to promote your ideas.

The most competitive proposals will have buy-in from outside organizations, so you’ll find images, fliers, sample social media posts, and other collateral to get you started and bring in that support you need.

If you have any questions, please post them on the forum. Good luck!

Forum 18
Community 122