Perspectives: On the Road with Hydro Review!

Hydro Review has been on the road! Trips to Washington, D.C.; Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to attend hydro and dam safety events gave us the opportunity to better understand the challenges and opportunities you’re facing.

During this travel, I was reminded of the CBS news magazine show On the Road with Charles Kuralt. I worked with Mr. Kuralt for a few months in 1984 as an intern at CBS News. What a storyteller he was! While I won’t be as colorful as Kuralt, I am borrowing his idea of sharing a few of our observations and insights “from the road”:

  • I see a genuine recognition in the hydro industry of the necessity of meaningful engagement and negotiations with communities affected by hydro development and operations. Just one example of the many encounterred on our travels: during the Clean Energy BC’s annual conference in Vancouver, the association of electricity producers, five First Nations, and the First Nation Energy and Mining Council signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the First Nations’ involvement in clean energy development. The MOU calls for an increase in First Nations’ involvement through partnerships, investment, management, training, and jobs. Hydro Review’s compliments to the MOU signatories! If you have examples of similar cooperation and collaboration, please share them through email: marlab@pennwell.com
  • Look for increased debate in parliaments, public utility commission board rooms, and financial houses about the price of electricity. Electricity price increases have not kept pace with the cost of other goods and services. If you calculate what you’re spending today for gasoline, food, clothes, entertainment, and electricity compared to ten years ago, I suspect you’ll find the only bill that hasn’t skyrocketed is the one for electricity. While low electricity prices are good for consumers, low returns on the commodity put hardships on developers trying to secure financing for producing and selling new hydroelectric power and on utilities trying to pay for needed equipment modernizations and dam safety fixes at existing facilities.
  • One of the hot topics among plant operators is the need for and use of environmentally friendly lubricants. While this topic is not new — I’ve heard project owners and operators talk about this for years – it’s still relevant. Virtually every hydro plant uses lubricants and, at each of these plants, there is the potential for these oils and greases to come into contact with water in publicly used lakes and rivers. Want to learn more about environmentally friendly lubricants offered in the hydro marketplace? Use the online HydroWorld Buyers’ Guide, found at: http:// buyersguide.hydroworld.com/Search/index.html
  • I was once again reminded of how hydropower serves as the financial workhorse for development of complex water management systems. These systems … funded with payments for the power they generate … provide clean, safe water supply for communities, irrigation for crops that feed hundreds of thousands of people, protection from devastating floods, a refreshing mecca for water-based recreation, and, ultimately, a foundation for the formation of communities and cities that offer jobs and a better way of life for people. No other fuel source offers so many non-power benefits!

We’ve come off the road with a renewed commitment to continue to bring you top-quality news, information, good practices, and lessons learned to help you do your work more effectively.

Stay tuned!

Marla J. Barnes
Publisher and Chief Editor

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