HydroVision Preview: Getting the Most out of HydroVision: Connecting to the Hydro Community

DirectEventConnect, an interactive online community for hydropower professionals, will be available for the first time to HydroVision International participants. The website allows attendees to reach out to exhibitors and plan their visits weeks before the event begins.

So you want to come to HydroVision International 2010, the world’s largest gathering of hydropower professionals, July 27-30 in Charlotte, N.C., USA.

More than 2,500 delegates and more than 250 exhibitors from throughout the world will be meeting in Charlotte for a week of hydropower-focused discussions, workshops, tours, and the world’s largest hydro exhibition. The use of hydropower, the world’s largest and most reliable form of renewable power, is expected to rise as the world strives to reduce air pollution while trying to meet the soaring demand for energy.

But first things first: Before booking your flight to Charlotte, you’ll need the boss’ approval.

Planning your visit to HydroVision and justifying the cost has just gotten easier, thanks to Penn-Well Corp.’s DirectEventConnect, an interactive online community that allows exhibitors and attendees to connect before, during, and after the event.

Registered attendees can use the online service weeks before the conference begins to compare exhibitor products, set up meetings, and target favorite exhibitors on a printable floor plan.

DirectEventConnect is a new offering at HydroVision. For the first time, attendees will be able to go online and map out their visit ahead of time, instead of spending hours upon arrival going through the on-site show guide to figure out where to begin.

DirectEventConnect offers attendees an efficient way to justify the cost of the trip and to generate the greatest return on investment, said MaryBeth DeWitt, director of Event Operations at PennWell.

“It will be a lot harder for a supervisor to decline that travel request when you’ve done all that planning,” DeWitt said. “This platform allows our attendees to do that.”

To see what DirectEventConnect has to offer, go to http://community.hydroevent.com.

How it works for exhibitors

Every exhibitor at HydroVision has a profile on DirectEventConnect, showcasing their products and services. A content team is available to help each exhibitor create a profile with company logos, product pictures, and detailed descriptions.

“The HydroVision content team is available and ready to assist with giving each exhibitor the best possible way to set up your listing,” DeWitt said. “They’re there to do it for exhibitors. They just need the exhibitors’ input to do it.”

All exhibitors receive a basic listing for US$275. But exhibitors can increase their visibility on DirectEventConnect by upgrading their listing to a Gold or Platinum Elite listing. The cost: US$495 for Gold and US$995 for Platinum Elite.

“For less than $1,000, you get ten product pictures and descriptions, you get a 500-word description online, and you get 150 words in the printed show guide,” DeWitt said. “For a basic listing, you get 35 words, so you get five times the visibility for less than $1,000.”

DeWitt encouraged potential exhibitors to book their space early to maximize the benefits of DirectEventConnect.

“They’re going to be charged $275 whether they book two weeks before the event or 11 months before the event,” she said. “You might as well get the best bang for your buck.”

What’s more, it’s a great way for exhibitors to get more sales leads.

“Everything is trackable,” DeWitt said. “Each exhibitor can look and see how many people clicked on what pictures, how long they stayed, how far they drilled down, and how many meeting requests. You cannot get greater lead retrieval.”

How it works for attendees

After logging onto DirectEventConnect, attendees can preview what companies and products will be featured on the exhibit floor. What’s more, attendees can search for the product or service they’re interested in and get a list of companies that supply that specific product. Once you find what you’re looking for, you can request more information or send a meeting request to that supplier. It allows the attendees and exhibitors to schedule their meetings long before the event begins.

For the first time, HydroVision attendees can use an online service known as DirectEventConnect.

Meeting requests are submitted through the online community’s “My Event Planner.” Once you find the products, services, and exhibitors that interest you, you can save them to your personalized Event Planner. You can build, refine, and add to your Event Planner right from your own desktop. It costs nothing to subscribe.

After bookmarking your favorite exhibitors and products or services, they are highlighted on your printable floor plan for you to use during the exhibition.

“You can print it out and take it with you to the show,” DeWitt said. “If you forget it, you can log in at the product locator at the event and print it right there at HydroVision.”

My Event Planner has a series of features that help you plan your visit, by managing your profile, your personal calendar, and your favorite products, services, and exhibitors. All communications are done within the online platform.

“They have the privacy of communicating just within the platform,” DeWitt said. “They control the communication.”

My Event Planner is a “to-do” list and meeting scheduler that allows you to bookmark and save exhibiting companies, products, and services that interest you.

My Event Planner has the following features:

— Profile: View and update your personal data under which you will be listed on DirectEventConnect;

— Messages: Receive important information about your account, as well as messages from registered attendees and exhibitors who want to get in touch with you;

— Show Planner: Maximize your time by preparing your visit with a printable, customized floor map that targets the exhibitors you’re interested in;

— Favorites: Choose and monitor your favorite products, exhibitors, or attendees;

— Calendar/Events: Save all important appointments and events to your personal calendar; and

— Matching Service: PennWell provides you with a free, personalized newsletter that keeps you informed about all new products, services, and exhibitors that might interest you. You select the information in your newsletter, which means only information relevant to your search criteria reaches your inbox.

Pre-Conference Events at HydroVision International 

  • Bridgewater Hydro Station Technical Tour
  • Hydro Greenhouse Gas Briefing, organized by International Hydropower Association
  • Hydroelectric Thrust and Guide Bearing Workshop, organized by Pioneer Motor Bearing Co.
  • Machine Condition Monitoring Workshop, organized by VibroSystM
  • Taking Advantage of the New Features in Flow-3D, Including the Sediment Scour Model, organized by Flow Science and Alden Research Laboratory Inc.
  • Technical Trends and Development of Pumped Storage and Variable Speed Machines, organized by Toshiba International Corp.

July 26 and 27

  • Hydro Generator Windings Workshop, organized by Iris Power LP

July 27

  • EPRI Water Power Research Program Review – R&D Status and Additional Needs Prioritization
  • Exporting Your Hydropower Technology or Expertise, organized by International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Golf Tournament
  • Hydro Sustainability Briefing, organized by International Hydropower Association
  • Innovative Small Hydro Technologies, organized by International Energy Agency Hydropower Implementing Agreement Annex II Small-Scale Hydropower
  • Streamlining the FERC Hydro Relicensing Process, organized by Alden Research Laboratory Inc. and Louis Berger Group Inc.
  • Woodward Mechanical Governor Basics: Gateshaft Governor and Mechanical Cabinet Actuator Training Class, organized by L&S Electric Inc.

Meetings for the following organizations:

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers Hydro Power Technical Committee, July 26 and 27
  • Hydro Research Foundation Board of Directors, July 26
  • Hydro Research Foundation Hydro Fellows Roundtable, July 27
  • IHA Informal Board, July 27
  • NHA Board of Directors, July 26
  • NHA Legislative Affairs Committee, July 26
  • NHA Public Affairs Committee, July 26
  • NHA Pumped Storage Council, July 26
  • NHA R&D Committee, July 26
  • NHA Regulatory Affairs Committee, July 26
  • NHA Small Hydro Council, July 27

Russell Ray is associate editor of Hydro Review.  

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HydroVision Preview: Ocean/Tidal/Stream Power: The Road to Commercialization

Ocean, tidal and stream hydrokinetic energy is one of ten tracks being offered at HydroVision International 2010. Experts will discuss the status of this fledgling sector and the pathway to commercial production.

The idea of harnessing the vast power of Earth’s oceans has fascinated and tantalized humans for centuries. Today, we may be on the cusp of realizing this potential.

Ocean, tidal and stream energy are renewable resources that we should seriously consider as an addition to our global portfolio of energy supply alternatives. Here’s why:

    – The wave and tidal/stream hydrokinetic energy resource available to be converted to electricity is significant;
    – The technology to convert those resources to electricity is emerging and is ready for testing in natural waters;
    – Wave and tidal/stream hydrokinetic energy can be cost competitive with other renewable technologies; and
    – We can overcome the significant challenges that remain to finding the pathway to commercialization of wave and tidal/stream energy technologies. 

The conversion of ocean wave energy, in-stream tidal, open-ocean and river currents into electricity will be the subject of much discussion at HydroVision International 2010, July 27-30, in Charlotte, N.C. It should not be confused with conventional hydro using a dam, impoundment or diversionary structure.

A robust electricity system of the future will be a balanced and diversified portfolio of energy supply alternatives. Our oceans are a public resource held in trust and accommodating multiple users. Fishermen make their living from the ocean and commercial ships navigate the oceans to deliver goods. Recreational boaters, surfers and those who just walk on the beach enjoy the ocean, while whales and other aquatic life make the ocean their home. Ocean energy could be one of those users working in harmony with other users and providing renewable energy for the overall good of our society.

The advantages of ocean energy are numerous. Studies have indicated that the high power density (kW/m2 for currents and kW/m of wave crest length for wave) of the resource results in smaller energy conversion machines lower in capital cost than other renewable technologies. The remoteness and hostility of the ocean environment, however, can result in higher deployment, operation and maintenance costs. But on balance, the cost of electricity can be comparable or lower than power produced by other renewable technologies.

Other benefits include: Providing a new, relatively environmentally benign, renewable source for meeting load growth and renewable portfolio goals; easy assimilation into the grid (because of the predictability of the resource); easing transmission constraints (since a large percentage of the world’s population lives near a coast) with minimal, if any, aesthetic concerns; reducing dependence on imported energy supplies and increasing energy security; lowering the risk of future fossil fuel price volatility; reducing emissions of greenhouse gases compared with fossil fuel-based generation; and stimulating job creation and economic development by using an indigenous resource.

A large number of small companies backed by government, private industry, utilities, and venture capital are leading the commercialization of technologies to generate electricity from ocean wave and tidal/open-ocean in-stream energy resources. Industries such as ship building are looking for opportunities to diversify, grow, and compete. These industries provide a trained workforce and institutional knowledge that will benefit ocean renewable energy technologies while helping to re-vitalize their own sectors.

The economic opportunities are significant. A relatively minor investment in research, development and demonstration could create a global industry generating billions of dollars of economic output and the employment of thousands.

The Pelamis unit, developed by Pelamis Wave Power, is a linear absorber. The four sections of this linear absorber move relative to each other, and this motion is converted at each hinge point into electricity by a hydraulic power converter system.

The European Union, Australia, and New Zealand are leading the development and commercialization of these technologies through:

    – Supporting the technology developers with funding.
    – Funding subscale and full scale test facilities.
    – Establishing goals for com-mercialization.
    – Developing roadmaps that point out the pathways to meet these goals.
    – Providing financial incentives necessary to meet those goals. 

Other nations are starting to get involved. Canada, for example, is implementing a tidal pilot demonstration project in the Minas Passage. This project is now funded at tens of millions of dollars and the first of three large scale (1 MW class) machines has been deployed. Two other tidal machines as well as the submerged transmission cable will be deployed in 2011.

The U.S. Department of Energy manages a Waterpower Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) program, which began in fiscal 2008 at $10 million, increased to $40 million in fiscal 2009 and rose again to $50 million in fiscal 2010. The term “Waterpower” encompasses conventional hydro and the emerging Wave/Tidal/Stream technologies as well as ocean thermal energy conversion.

Today, there are a variety of ocean/tidal/stream energy conversion technologies at various stages of development. Several dozen devices have progressed to rigorous subscale laboratory wave-tank or tow-tank model testing. About two dozen have advanced to short-term tests in natural waters. And only a few devices have progressed to long-term testing of full-scale prototypes in natural waters. The time period needed for these technologies to progress from concept to deployment is five to ten years. It is too early to know which technologies will turn out to be the most cost-effective, reliable, and environmentally sound, and the desired technology may differ by location.

There is uncertainty as to whether large scale deployment of ocean/tidal/stream technologies can be done in an environmentally acceptable way. Project developers, environmental entities, utilities and governments are addressing the environmental issues associated with getting ocean/tidal/stream machines in the water. Research conducted to date indicates that environmental impacts from many of these emerging technologies are minimal. However, regulators and the public insist that minimal impacts be demonstrated before proceeding. A gradual scale-up of deployments, following a carefully designed, adaptively managed approach is likely the only way such demands can be satisfied in a sensible way.

The PowerBuoy, from Ocean Power Technology, is an example of a point absorber. These devices absorb wave energy from all directions.

It is critical for the success of this industry to gain a full understanding of all life cycle-related issues over the coming years to pave the way for larger scale commercial deployments. Such understanding can only be gained in a practical way from the deployment of prototype and pilot demonstration systems in the ocean. Successful deployment of prototype and pilot demonstration systems will not only address technology and economic related issues, but will also provide confidence to regulators, the general public and investors. Both market push (RD&D and portfolio standards) and market pull mechanisms (economic incentives to encourage deployment) will be required to successfully move this technology sector forward and develop the capacity to harness energy from the ocean.

It is very unlikely that any of this early stage development will be funded by the private sector because the risk of failure is too high. When a technology developer can test a prototype that shows promising performance, reliability and cost, then the private sector investors may be interested. Even at that point, the private sector will not want to assume all of the financial risk and exposure to fully fund the first demonstration projects, or the first commercial projects. Some sort of support for these early commercial projects will be essential to get the industry started.

The eventual level of ocean/tidal/stream power capacity to be deployed will be strongly dependent on enabling actions and policies that support the development of the industry. The establishment of deployment and timeline goals and the RD&D pathways to success are needed to fully develop the potential of this industry. Given the long lead times inherent in capital intensive industries like energy, investment and policy decisions cannot be delayed without risk of losing opportunities for technology options that we expect will prove tremendously valuable in a carbon-constrained future.

Come to the Ocean/Tidal/Stream Power track at HydroVision International 2010 and learn how developers and early adopters are moving down the path to commercialization of Ocean/Tidal/Stream technologies. 

A Focus on Ocean/Tidal/Stream Power at HydroVision International 2010 

Roger Bedard is Ocean Energy Leader in the Renewable program area of the Generation Sector at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). He is the track co-chair for the Ocean/Tidal/Stream Power track at HydroVision International, to be held July 27-30, 2010 in Charlotte, N.C.


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