Perspectives: Selected Highlights, Salutes, and Shout-Outs

This HydroVision International edition of Hydro Review is our biggest of the year. It’s full of information … to help you do your job better, be more cost effective, find the best product or service for your current need, and get connected with your industry colleagues. A few selected highlights of what’s in store for you in this issue:

– In “Hydro Currents,” page 4, we report on U.S. President Barack Obama’s newly released climate change action plan. While the plan does include hydropower as “renewable,” the commitment to “encourage development of hydro at existing dams” is anything but specific.

As Hydro Review online editor Michael Harris writes in a recent blog posted on HydroWorld.com, “The … one concrete mention of hydropower – that is, encouraging the development of hydroelectric power at existing dams – hits the proverbial nail on the head and seems like a complete no-brainer.” Michael goes on: “It seems curious to me that a commodity so proven and relatively cheap as hydroelectric power wouldn’t be front and center in any discussion about renewable development.”

I couldn’t agree more! Read Michael’s entire blog at: http://www.hydroworld.com/blogs/hydro-talk/2013/06/thoughts_on_obamas.html.

– The hydro workforce is dramatically changing. While this is not “new” news, the article “How Hydro Facility Owners are ‘Doing More with Less'” (page 26) provides empirical data pointing toward an increasing use of a multi-skilled, multi-functional workforce.

Rather than hiring an electrician, or an operator, or a maintenance specialist, asset owners are looking for a “Hydro Utility Worker” – an individual who can perform multiple, and varied, activities.

Asset owners continue to struggle with recruitment challenges and are looking for ways to effectively recruit and retain talented multi-skilled individuals. The Hydro Research Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy are helping solve this challenge with the Hydro Fellows program. Read more at http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2013/05/hydro-research-institute-announces-2013-hydro-fellowship-recipie.html.

– The same ‘Doing More with Less’ article (page 26) reports that a whopping 35% of O&M expenditures at selected hydro plants are NOT spent on what most would consider “functional” operations and maintenance. Instead, these costs are for fish mitigation, visitors’ centers, parks, recreational facilities, taxes, water rental, and environmental controls. These needs are not to be trivialized and are considered, by most asset owners, part of doing business. Yet, it’s important to recognize … and to communicate to policy makers … the tremendous costs of non-generation-related requirements associated with hydro operating licenses.

This issue also offers multiple examples of how people and organizations are making a difference.

Whether it’s cattle rancher George Wenschhof, who figured out a way to power his operation with hydropower using an irrigation system, or the engineers and workers placing a waterproofing sheet geomembrane system on the largest multiple arch dam in the world, individuals are solving problems, making improvements, and bringing hydro to the forefront of policy discussions.

I especially want to offer a “shout-out” to the 68 national, regional, and technical associations listed (beginning on page 100). These associations and organizations are doing their part throughout North America to advocate for hydro, transfer knowledge, and provide a community for hydropower professionals. Hydro Review salutes the work of each of these associations. If you’re not involved in one or more of these groups, make a call or send an email to volunteer. You’ll be glad you did!

More than 180 companies placed advertising in this issue. A review of these advertisements illustrates the collective expertise, experience, ingenuity, and commitment of this industry. Thank you to these companies who invest in making the hydro industry strong and vibrant!

Marla J. Barnes
Publisher and Chief Editor

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