Perspectives: Looking Back

1994 … 20 years ago:

Gasoline was $1.10 per gallon. A U.S. postage stamp cost 29 cents. Apple released its first Macintosh computer using the new PowerPC Microprocessors. 10% of the people in the U.S. used a mobile telephone. And, the first version of a web browser, Netscape Navigator, was launched.

In the hydroelectric industry, 29 new projects were completed in North America during 1994, offering more than 800 MW of new electrical capacity. These plants ranged in size from the 90-kW Placentia Avenue hydro plant in California to the final units of the 840-MW Laforge-1 facility, part of the massive James Bay development in Quebec, Canada.

Hydro Review that year give insight about the events in and the mindset of the industry 20 years ago:

  Initial surveys found little damage to dams and hydro facilities from the January 17 earthquake that devastated much of Los Angeles.

  The National Hydropower Association has issued a draft proposal aimed at making the relicensing process more efficient and effective.

  Hydro-Quebec has reached agreements with the Grand Council of the Cree and with Inuit natives on several issues involving the $13.3 billion Grande Baleine hydro project.

  Commissioner Daniel Beard passed out chocolate cigars April 13 to announce the birth of a “new” Bureau of Reclamation having 550 fewer employees and reduced layers of management.

  Canadian Environment Minister Sheila Copps announced the government has approved a package of environmental assessment regulations that will implement the 1992 Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which goes into effect in January 1995. Federal proclamation of the act paves the way for creation of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and ends the costly and controversial Environmental Assessment Review Process, which the ministry said has caused long delays and industry uncertainty.

  An amendment approved by the U.S. Senate would provide $1 million in federal money for research and development of an advanced hydro turbine.

  In recent weeks, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered operators of several hydroelectric projects at dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers to spill water with the aim of enhancing the restoration of certain stocks of salmon in these rivers. These actions will add $25 million to $30 million to the Northwest’s electricity bills this year, on top of $22 million previously committed to spills.

1994 also was the start of HydroVision, an innovative new event touting an atmosphere that “encourages open-mindedness and dialogue in a relaxed setting.” Russ Earnest, deputy assistant director of ecological services for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and member of the conference steering committee, said of the event: “I think this should be a conference where we check our egos and positions at the door, and sit down and work together.”

Today, 20 years later, the HydroVision event … brought to you by official media sponsor Hydro Review … continues to serve as an annual gathering place for all types of people working in hydro to “sit down and work together. “

On behalf of my colleagues in the PennWell Hydro Group, I thank you … the readers of and advertisers in this magazine … for your continued support of this event and of hydro in general over the past 20 years.

Here’s to another 20!

Marla J. Barnes
Publisher and Chief Editor

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Renewable Energy World's content team members help deliver the most comprehensive news coverage of the renewable energy industries. Based in the U.S., the UK, and South Africa, the team is comprised of editors from Clarion Energy's myriad of publications that cover the global energy industry.

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