Marla J Barnes
Publisher and Chief Editer
We are publishing this issue of HRW just in time for the Russia Power Conference & Exhibition. This annual PennWell event provides opportunity for discussion and strategic planning, as well as an exchange on the latest in power plant technology and operation.
While this is the 8th year for Russia Power, I am pleased to report this is the 1st year for hydropower and dams and civil structures to be featured in the event.
Russia Power includes a hydro track – nine sessions – in which hydro and dams experts from more than 15 countries all over the world will share cutting-edge technologies, best practices, and proven strategies for managing hydro assets. And, in the hydro pavilion on the exhibit floor, 20 companies from more than a dozen countries are featuring their products and services.
I applaud all of the speakers and exhibitors who are sharing their hydro expertise. Their commitment and presence in Russia could not come at a more crucial time.
The August 2009 accident at RusHydro’s Sayano-Shushenskaya hydro project that killed 75 workers has brought into sharp focus … in both Russia and elsewhere … the critical need to invest in existing infrastructure, including applying state-of-the-art tools, technologies, and methods. Underinvestment in infrastructure upgrades can, as Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made clear in a recent interview with the Financial Times, stymie economic growth. Worse yet, deferring needed work could lead to the endangerment of project staff and individuals living downstream of a project.
The situation at Sayano-Shushenskaya also reminds us of that age-old advice to “learn from past mistakes.” As RusHydro launches into restoration of its largest hydro project, the government-owned utility seems determined to learn from past mistakes. As an example, as part of the reconstruction, RusHydro is instituting completely reworked management, control, safety, and automation systems.
The week after the accident, Prime Minister Putin publicly recognized there was much work to do to ensure the safety of Russia’s hydropower facilities. The actions of RusHydro back up his words. This issue’s cover story documenting the restoration work at Sayano-Shushenskaya illustrates RusHydro’s commitment to completely restore the project so it will operate safely for years to come.
While the Sayano-Shushenskaya accident was horrific, it did serve to reinforce the urgent need for companies to learn from the past, to continually implement new and better tools and technologies, to share best practices with one another, and to embrace doing things differently in the future. RusHydro and all the companies participating in the hydro track and hydro pavilion at Russia Power are good examples of companies taking these vital actions.