Upstream Tech Awarded Phase 2 SBIR Grant from Department of Energy

By Marshall Moutenot on July 21, 2021

Upstream Tech, a subsidiary of Natel Energy, has been selected as one of seven innovative water power businesses to receive a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 2 award from the Department of Energy (DOE) to support improved hydropower decision-making with the further development of HydroForecast. The original announcement from the DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office is linked here.

Upstream Tech is a US-based public benefit corporation that uses satellite imagery and machine learning to create environmental decision-support technologies. Their HydroForecast service is a neural network-based approach to forecasting streamflow for hydropower operational decision-making.

Hydropower operators rely on forecasts for planning and operational decision-making, but the inaccuracy of current forecasts has implications for revenue, risk, and regulatory requirements. Upstream Tech’s SBIR proposal, entitled “Hydropower Decision-Support with Machine Learning and Satellite Driven Forecasts,” leverages machine learning and satellite imagery innovations to improve the accuracy and reliability of hydrologic forecasts.

In 2020, Upstream Tech was selected for a Phase 1 SBIR award from the DOE. The highly selective $1.1M Phase 2 award validates the company’s progress over the last year and demonstrates the federal government’s continued belief in Upstream Tech’s potential to significantly advance America’s progress towards a 100% carbon-free energy grid. 

The Phase 2 project leverages machine learning and satellite imagery innovations to improve the accuracy and reliability of hydrologic forecasts. This work includes three main components:

  1. Increasing the diversity of weather forecast sources used by HydroForecast to improve prediction accuracy over multiple time horizons. 
  2. Quantifying HydroForecast’s financial benefits for system operators. Upstream Tech will collaborate with power systems modeling experts at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to measure the value of improved forecasts across a range of site types and operating needs.
  3. Building commercial scalability to speed HydroForecast deployment into customer systems.

Upstream Tech is a US-based public benefit corporation with the mission to empower better decision-making and natural resource management through technology. The company creates decision-support technologies for environmental conservation and a 100% renewable grid. HydroForecast is an end-to-end modeling and decision support service that combines physical theory with AI and satellite imagery to provide accurate and reliable hydrological forecasts anywhere on Earth. Lens enables efficient monitoring of environmental projects and conservation properties. To learn more about Upstream Tech, visit upstream.tech or follow them on Twitter at @upstream_tech.