Perspectives: Knowledge Is Power

I am a big believer in lifelong learning. As technology and tools advance, and workplace situations change, it’s imperative to keep learning … and then applying … new information. From my experience, it’s the only way to stay “on top of your game.”

For the power generation industry, the fundamentals of how electricity is generated have not changed (what you learned in school probably still applies!). However, almost everything else is advancing and changing! Advanced technology, new tools, better equipment, sophisticated monitoring approaches. These all affect the way power is generated and how you do your day-to-day work. What’s more, with tight budgets and a rapidly retiring workforce, many of us are being asked to do more with less.

All this can be overwhelming, even frightening at times. How to survive and manage these rapid-fire changes? One good way is through continued education. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Knowledge is the antidote to fear …” The more knowledge you gain, especially in those areas of greatest change, the better prepared you are … which reduces fear. Knowledge is an enabler. Knowledge gives you power.

At PennWell, we are excited to share with you a brand-new website to help you in your quest for knowledge. In August 2010, PennWell’s North American Power Group unveiled Power Generation University, I am pleased to report that hydropower is one of the topics of interest featured on the site.

Power Generation University offers short “courses” – a paper in PDF format with test questions at the end – in specific power generation areas: biomass, coal, oil, gas, geothermal, hydro, nuclear, ocean/tidal/stream power, solar, and wind. For each course successfully completed (must earn a 70% on each test), a student earns 2 professional development hours (PDHs). For those of you with professional engineering licenses, these PDHs can be used toward renewing your license. (By the way, we also offer PDH certificates to all individuals who register to attend the conference portion of our various Power Generation events, including HydroVision International).

At Power Generation University, there’s no need to go to class at a certain time. You download the course, review it, and then take the test whenever it’s convenient for you. The fees are quite reasonable, too. Each course costs $59. That’s a bargain, believe me (a parent with a son in college!).

And, the university has some of the best minds in the business serving as faculty. Willard B. Smith, P.E., CFM, is the hydropower expert among the university’s faculty. Bill is passionate about learning … and loves hydropower! You can learn more about Bill at under the “Our Faculty” tab.

I am anxious to learn what you think about this new university!

Marla J Barnes
Publisher and Chief Editor



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