Making Hydro Heard

Marla Barnes

“Nobody is going to represent you if you don’t step up.”

Those are the words of Stephane Bertrand, addressing Canadian hydropower industry leaders. Mr. Bertrand is the executive director of the World Energy Congress — Montreal 2010. He was encouraging hydro professionals to get involved in the Congress, scheduled for September 2010 in Quebec, Canada.

His advice is worth heeding.

Hydro is a powerful source of electrical generation with a powerful story. Hydropower provides one-fifth of the world’s electricity, along with important non-power benefits. Yet, we cannot leave it to chance that those outside this industry grasp the unique significance of what hydro provides our world.

The upcoming World Energy Congress provides an ideal opportunity for hydro to tell its story. This Congress – held every three years – is a key gathering place for energy leaders. During the event, world leaders will seek solutions to four challenges:

1) How will our world meet future energy demand?

2) What is the right energy mix for long-term stability?

3) What are efficient, sustainable energy policies and practices?

4) What policies and regulations are needed to ensure optimal use of resources?

Congress participants will listen to presentations, participate in roundtables, and engage with companies and organizations in the exhibition hall. Participants will conclude by creating the WEC Montreal 2010 Declaration, an official statement that will determine the actions for the next three years of the World Energy Council (WEC). WEC is an energy-neutral non-profit organization that promotes the sustainable supply and use of energy for the greatest benefit of all people.

Will hydropower be represented? I hope so. I applaud the companies who’ve already committed to be involved in the Congress. If your organization is not yet involved, visit to find out how you can step up … to make a paper presentation (proposed submissions due Jan. 15, 2010), to display products or services on the exhibition floor, or to participate in a roundtable discussion.

Don’t convince yourself that getting involved is someone else’s job. Consider these ten two-letter words: “If it is to be, it is up to me.” While virtually meaningless by themselves, together they make a powerful statement.

If hydropower is to be heard at the World Energy Congress … and in classrooms, courtrooms, congresses, and coffee shops around the world … it is up to each of you reading this today.

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