NWHA elects new board members, concludes annual conference

The 35th year of the Northwest Hydroelectric Association annual conference concluded in Portland last week, with the election of new officers and board members and total attendance of 362.

This year’s officers (with one-year terms) are:

* President, Steve Padula of McMillen Jacobs Associates

* Vice President, Trey Acteson of Southeast Alaska Power Agency

* Treasurer, Franci Brinkman of Black and Veatch

* Secretary, Irena Netik of Puget Sound Energy

Barbara Craig of Stoel Rives is now past president of NWHA.

Board members were elected for three-year terms:

* Alaska, Trey Acteson of Southeast Alaska Power Agency

* At large, Jon Jourdonnais of NorthWestern Energy

* Washington, Colleen McShane of Seattle City Light and Mike Manwaring of MWH Global

* Western Canada, Brian Hughes of Northwest Hydraulic Consultants

In addition, Cherise Gaffney of Stoel Rives was appointed general counsel.

Attendance reached a record high in 2016, with attendance at the conference doubling over the past six years, according to Jan Lee, executive director of NWHA.

A couple of highlights from the conference include the opening session and a new Pumped Storage Hydro Workshop after the close of the conference.

The topic of the opening session was The Future of Our Hydro Resources. Prominent Pacific Northwest hydropower executives provided their insight and perspectives on the future role of hydropower in the generation mix, as well as their thoughts on developing new hydro and threats to the existing hydropower resources. Panelists were from Tacoma Power, Idaho Power, Portland General Electric, Bonneville Power Administration.

Among other things, the panelists said hydro is being looked at in the Pacific Northwest as a tool for integration of other renewables, in addition to its role of supplying electrical capacity. Experts indicated hydropower will be used to help achieve aggressive renewable energy growth challenges. They stressed that hydro’s best contributions are the fact that is it flexible and low cost.

In the included video clip, Lisa Grow, senior vice president of power supply with Idaho Power, describes the value of hydro to her company’s system.

The Pumped Storage Hydro Workshop, a new addition this year, drew a significant crowd, indicating this topic is of high interest to the hydropower industry, Lee says.

NWHA is now seeking concepts for the board to review at its May retreat, to plan the 2017 conference. To contribute, send a couple of paragraphs about your proposed topic, along with potential speakers, to jan@nwhydro.org. Concepts are due by April 15.

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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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