WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Hydropower Association has released an interactive tool designed to demonstrate how hydropower benefits the nation’s local communities and economies.
NHA’s “U.S. Hydropower Supply Chain Snapshot“, unveiled this week at the association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., features nearly 2,000 companies in the non-federal hydro supply chain.
The organization says these companies include “small, medium and large firms, and range from project developers to construction companies; architecture and engineering firms to electricians; and component manufacturers to biologists.”
“We’re not just talking about the 300,000 people that are directly employed in the hydropower industry because the supply chain stretches throughout the country, and in some surprising areas,” says NHA President David Moller. “
And while the snapshot confirms the hydroelectric industry’s strength in regions long considered hotbeds of hydro activity, NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci says the things revealed elsewhere surprise her the most.
“For example, the map details over 415 companies in southeastern states like Alabama and Georgia and more than 583 companies in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois,” Ciocci says. “Many of these are ‘red states’, or states where conventional wisdom says there’s no clean energy.
“Clearly, that conventional wisdom is wrong.”
The snapshot also demonstrates the diversity of companies and jobs within the hydropower industry, Ciocci says, which is a reflection of the sector’s strength. “This is not the profile of an industry past its prime,” Ciocci says. “This is the profile of a vibrant industry, and one that’s ready to grow.”
On the flipside, however, the snapshot also shows what the industry could lose.
“You can clearly see which parts of the country stand to lose if our elected officials fail to provide a predictable energy policy environment for our industry,” Ciocci says. “Let me put it another way: this map makes it clear that what happens in D.C. really does affect the rest of the country.”
The consequences of neglecting the hydroelectric industry are what make the project so important, says Moller.
“It’s one of those things that before we took the time and did the research to create the snapshot, nobody knew the answer to the question,” Moller says. “And frankly, I think it’s pretty startling to see how broad that footprint is, because it affects all sectors of the economy.”
Moller said he hopes those within the industry use it to their advantage. “It can be used in two ways,” Moller says. “One — members can drill in and find out who’s involved in the hydropower industry in their own area and enlist them to help us reach our goals.
“The other thing they can do with it is to share it with their elected representatives because representatives are very interested in jobs, and so they’ll be able to go to a representative or a senator and say, ‘hey — these are the folks in your district or your state that directly benefit from this industry and its growth’.”
Organizations not currently represented on the snapshot are encouraged to notify NHA for inclusion.