"Supporting advanced, environmentally friendly hydropower will help bring our nation closer to reaching the administration's goal of meeting 80 percent of our energy needs with clean sources by 2035," Salazar said in a statement.
U.S. President Barack Obama laid out the clean-energy target during this State of the Union address in January. The Department of Energy said hydroelectric power is a low-cost, low-emission alternative to conventional energy production.
"By improving hydropower technology, we can maximize America's biggest source of renewable energy in an environmentally responsible way," Chu said.
Chu also announced $112.5 million in funding over five years to support solar power initiatives in the United States.
The investments are part of a so-called SunShot Initiative, modeled after U.S. President John Kennedy's lunar ambitions. The solar energy initiative aims to cut the cost of solar power by as much as 75 percent in an effort to increase its prevalence in the U.S. energy mix, the Energy Department said in a statement.