Record-Breaking Conference Reveals Excitement Surrounding Hydropower

HydroVision International attracted record attendance this July and highlighted many accomplishments within the industry.

Elizabeth Ingram

HydroVision International is the world’s largest hydropower industry event. 2015 attendance shattered all the conference’s records with nearly 3,800 registered attendees from 60 countries. This event was held July 13-17 in Portland, Ore.

The HydroVision International exhibit hall.

The conference covered the breadth and depth of the global hydroelectric power market over three days of educational sessions. There were also two days of co-located workshops, meetings and seminars — along with four technical tours of hydro facilities. Below are some highlights of this event.

Kicking off the Event

The conference began with a keynote session that featured officials from host utilities Pacific Power and Portland General Electric. Representatives of United States Department of Energy (DOE), United States Department of Commerce, and a number of major trade organizations also attended.

“We are particularly proud to have HydroVision International here in Oregon,” said Maria Pope, senior vice president of power supply and operation for Portland General Electric. “The region’s rich resources have left us with a legacy of low-cost, reliable energy.”

Pope’s sentiments were echoed by Pacific Power President and Chief Executive Officer Stefan Bird. “Hydro helps us achieve our public-policy goals,” Bird said. “It helps us keep the lights on and allows for additional renewables.”

The keynote session also provided an update on the DOE’s Hydropower Vision” initiative, which seeks to provide a long-term road map for the industry and an overview of international opportunities for national manufacturers.

Leaders from the International Hydropower Association, National Hydropower Association, Canadian Hydropower Association, and Northwest Hydroelectric Association were also included via a short documentary.

During the keynote session, three facilities were inducted into the Hydro Hall of Fame. The Hydro Hall of Fame is a collection of 42 hydroelectric plants that have been in continuous operation for 100 years or more. These testaments to hydropower’s durability and long life have been chosen as inductees by the editors of Hydro Review every year since 1995. The decisions are based on their age, performance history, and unique characteristics.

This year’s inductees are:

• 943-kW Dewey Lakes, owned by Alaska Power & Telephone, began generating energy in 1902 within the Klondike-era gold rush community of Skagway.

• 25-MW River Mill, owned by Portland General Electric, located about one mile west of Estacada, Ore, began generating power in 1911.

• 31-MW Prairie du Sac, located on the Wisconsin River, owned and operated by Alliant Energy, began powering communities in the area in 1914.

Immediately after the keynote session concluded, the exhibit hall was formally opened with a reception.

Pacific Power President and Chief Executive Officer Stefan Bird.

Learning Galore

HydroVision International’s educational aspects are second to no other conference in the hydropower industry.

One special offering is the Waterpower Hydro Basics course, designed for those who are new to hydro or need a refresher course. This intensive two-day course features instruction on all aspects of the hydropower industry. Attendees can go on a technical plant tour to see the technology they have learned about in action.

Content for this course is developed by the Hydro Training Institute. All session leaders and instructors are subject matter experts.

In addition, there are more than 70 conference sessions offered in eight tracks. Panel presentation session tracks run the gamut of subjects from asset management to water resources. Technical paper and poster gallery sessions are also offered.

In 2015, the Oregon Wave Energy Trust co-located its Ocean Renewable Energy Conference with HydroVision International, bringing together the marine and hydrokinetic energy industry and the traditional hydropower market.

Welcoming Graduate Researchers and International Delegations

One special feature at HydroVision International was the presence of the fellows involved in the Hydro Research Foundation (HRF) program. These graduate students introduced their research and shared their findings with a wide audience of hydro personnel.

The primary purpose of HRF is to advance hydropower’s role in our clean energy future through research and education. HRF has been progressing education and research related to hydropower since 1995.

HRF provides a one-year award to allow students to conduct focused research related to conventional and pumped-storage hydropower, as well as to attract student researchers to careers in hydro.

The awards are made possible by a grant from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program of the DOE. Since the beginning of the grant, 55 students have been funded to pursue advanced degrees. More than 70 percent of the graduating students are now working in the hydro industry.

In addition, for the first time in 2015 HydroVision International was chosen by the Department of Commerce to host its International Buyer Program Select. This is a joint United States government-and-industry effort designed to stimulate exports by promoting major national industry exhibitions to international markets.

Waterpower Hydro Basics conference sessions.

This program brought several international delegations to the 2015 event, where they had access to the exhibit hall and all conference sessions, as well as the opportunity to take advantage of export counseling and matchmaking services.

Recognizing Women

On July 14, PennWell’s Hydro Group, the organizer of HydroVision International, presented 10 influential women with the second annual Women with Hydro Vision awards.

This award program is designed to recognize women who have made and/or are continuing to make significant contributions to the hydro industry by sharing their unique talents and vision.

Women with Hydro Vision honorees received awards for dam safety, engineering consulting, communications, plant services/maintenance, environmental protection and mitigation, equipment supply, marine and hydrokinetic energy, new development, policies and regulations, research and technology, and power plant portfolio management.

These women were all nominated by their peers and were selected for this honor based on the influence and impact they have had on the larger hydropower industry. The awards were given at the Women with Hydro Vision Luncheon. This year, Chandra Brown, deputy assistant secretary of manufacturing with the United States Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, assisted with presenting the awards.

Planning for Next Year

Planning is well underway for the 2016 event, which will be held in Minneapolis. A steering committee meeting was held in June to determine the content for the panel presentation sessions.

A call for abstracts has been issued. The technical papers committee will meet in December to choose the best submissions.

For more information on this dynamic event, visit



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