Long-time hydropower advocate Sale passes away

I am saddened to report that Dr. Michael J. Sale passed away on Jan. 1. He was 68.

“He dedicated his career to clean energy, hydropower, water resources, and environmental issues and remained an active contributor to the scientific community, most recently through the Low Impact Hydropower Institute,” his obituary says.

Sale worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for 28 years, with positions including group leader for applied science and technology in the environmental sciences division and program manager for work for others for the biological and environmental directorate. He also served as senior hydropower advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Program.

Sale also served as executive director and senior technical advisor for the Low Impact Hydropower Institute and was a self-employed consultant on clean energy, water and environmental issues.

LIHI’s Executive Director Shannon Ames paid him tribute by saying: “The Low Impact Hydropower Institute owes a large debt of gratitude to Mike. Not only was he a chartered member of LIHI’s governing board, Mike served as Executive Director from 2013 to 2016 during a critical period of the organization’s development. As Executive Director, Mike led efforts to undertake the first major revision to LIHI’s certification criteria and handbook since its founding in 2000. Mike’s leadership strengthened LIHI’s ability to offer market-based opportunities for hydropower operators to lower their environmental, recreational and cultural impacts. The revisions he oversaw expanded ways for key criteria to be satisfied, placed new emphasis on the scientific basis for agency recommendations and mitigation measures and opened new opportunities for longer term certificates.”

He authored articles for Hydro Review magazine and was an instructor in the Waterpower Hydro Basics course at HydroVision International.

Sale served on the board of the Hydropower Foundation for three years, and in a tribute Bree Mendlin, program director for HF, said, “When someone has touched as many areas of the world as Mike has, he is bound to leave a mark and he will truly be missed by all who knew him. We can place our hope in continuing to live out Mike’s incredible legacy of making the world a better place, through renewable energy, specifically hydropower.”

Sale had a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Michigan, with a master’s in aquatic ecology and a PhD in environmental engineering and science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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