Perspectives: Happy Anniversary, Hydro Review!

As we begin 2011, here at Hydro Review, we also begin our 30th year of service to the North American hydroelectric industry. This anniversary is an appropriate time to look back at how this magazine started and to revisit its purpose and mission.

Thirty years ago, in 1982, the space shuttle Columbia completed its first operational flight, the first artificial human heart was implanted, “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial” was the top-grossing movie, and the first issue of Hydro Review was published.

Hydro Review‘s publisher at the time, Hydro Consultants, Inc., called the publication “the quarterly magazine of the small scale hydroelectric industry.” The early 1980s was a time of development, especially for small hydro, thanks in no small part to the 1978 passage of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). The law provided a guaranteed market for electricity produced by privately owned facilities, making small-scale hydro economically viable. As developers entered the market, they found there was a scarcity of information about hydro. Aimed toward developers of small-scale hydro, the purpose of Hydro Review was to provide basic information about the hydropower industry and to serve as a marketplace for hydro ideas and products.

It wasn’t long, though, before the magazine embraced the wide range of information needs and issues that are of concern to developers, owners, and operators of hydro projects of all sizes.

Hydro Review‘s first issue of 1984 announced the publication was now “The Quarterly Magazine of the North American Hydroelectric Industry,” covering not only small hydro, but all hydro. The issue announced an agreement between Hydro Review and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to provide hydroelectric technical information via a new technical section in the magazine. The new section was to contain researched-based technical articles written by experts in the industry. While the agreement with EPRI has long since expired, Hydro Review continues to publish “peer reviewed” articles to advance the industry’s state of knowledge.

The year 1984 also marked the first time Hydro Review published an article about Canadian hydro. Three years later, we started a new department devoted specifically to Canadian hydro news. Today, coverage of Canadian hydro is an integral part of each issue.

Over the years, we’ve significantly increased the frequency of the magazine (now published eight times a year) and the topics covered (dams and dam safety, environmental protection and enhancements, rehabilitation and modernization, and ocean/tidal/stream power – just to name a few).

We’ve expanded how we deliver information by offering live events. Hydro Review is the flagship media sponsor of HydroVision International, the world’s largest hydro event, and HydroVision Brazil, a brand-new conference and exhibition focusing on Latin America.

We’ve also entered the digital age! Hydro Review subscribers can now choose to receive the magazine in digital form. The magazine powers the website,, which receives more than 100,000 visits each month. And, for iPhone and iPad users, Hydro Review offers a brand new “app.” Users can download this free application, released in December 2010, to get up-to-the-minute global hydro energy news and hydropower technology.

Over the past 30 years, Hydro Review has experienced much change in the way we deliver information and the scope of our hydro coverage. Yet, one thing has remained constant: Our commitment to providing information that’s genuinely useful to you as you pursue your interests in hydro. On this diamond anniversary of Hydro Review, I pledge to you anew our commitment to continue to do just that.

Marla J Barnes
Publisher and Chief Editor


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