National Hydropower Association Annual Conference brings hydro industry together in Washington D.C.

Hydropower can play an integral part in the nation’s push toward a clean energy economy, Department of Energy Under Secretary for Energy Kristina Johnson told an audience of hydro professionals at the opening plenary session of the National Hydropower Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

Johnson’s address at the NHA event follows the recent announcement that the DOE, Department of the Interior and Army Corps of Engineers have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the development of hydropower.

Johnson said she looks forward to seeing results from the recent MOU and that hydropower has plenty of room to expand its role in providing clean, renewable energy.

“We’re quite excited to move forward on this,” she said. “We’re counting on hydropower to double, both in jobs and clean electrons on the grid.”

Hundreds of hydropower industry professionals are in Washington, D.C., at the 2010 National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, “Hydro in the New Energy Revolution: Innovate. Generate. Legislate.” The event began April 26 and lasts through April 28.

The event, held at the Capital Hilton, brings together industry leaders, state and federal regulatory officials and key legislative staff to discuss technology, policy and future development options for the hydropower sector.

During the conference’s opening session, NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci and NHA President Andrew Munro reinforced the message that there’s no time like the present for hydropower to assert its role as a leading renewable energy source.

“It’s time for action,” Munro said. “It’s time for growth.”

The NHA conference’s opening day also included a rally event at Capitol Hill, which featured a visit from several congressional delegates and other guests.

U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., were among the guests in attendance.

“We have a huge opportunity,” said Rodgers, noting that hydropower has potential to fill an important role on its own and within the renewable energy mix. “There have been so many positive results, and we just want to continue the positive story of hydropower.”

Markey said hydropower should be recognized as a renewable energy source that has helped to fuel the country’s energy needs throughout the nation’s history and that there is plenty of opportunity for hydropower to take a leading role in the nation’s energy future.

“Hydro is back,” Markey said.

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