HydroVision International: Where Hydro Meets Power

Attendance at the HydroVision International 2012 event, July 17-20 in Louisville, Ky., provides a wealth of educational and networking opportunities. Make plans now to attend this largest gathering of hydro professionals in the world.

By Elizabeth Ingram

Educational opportunities abound at Hydro-Vision International 2012, which convenes July 17-20 at the Kentucky International Convention Center. The event is the year’s largest gathering of hydropower professionals, with more than 3,000 delegates and more than 300 exhibiting companies expected to attend.

In addition to an extensive educational program, the event features more than 20 co-located seminars, workshops, briefings, and organizational meetings. Topics include: an introduction to marine renewables, EPRI water power research program review and exporting your hydropower technology or expertise. Organizations hosting meetings include the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, National Hydropower Association and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

HydroVision also offers attendees two technical tour opportunities, one of the 84-MW Cannelton Locks & Dams project and one of the 80-MW Ohio Falls plant.

The full-day Cannelton tour, on Monday, July 16, offers an incredible opportunity to visit a project under construction. The Cannelton project, being developed on the Ohio River by AMP Public Power Partners, will divert water from the Corps locks and dam through bulb turbines to generate an average gross annual output of 458,000 MWh. (Note: This tour is now closed to non-U.S. citizens, but U.S. citizens can register through June 29.)

The Ohio Falls station, which attendees can tour the morning of Tuesday, July 17, was built in the 1920s to supply power for the city of Louisville. Owners Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities are investing $130 million on a renovation of the eight turbine-generator units that will increase plant capacity to about 101 MW. Registration for this tour is open until June 29.

A dynamic keynote session on Tuesday, July 17, marks the official start of the HydroVision International 2012 event. It features greetings from the event’s three official supporting organizations: Canadian Hydropower Association, International Hydropower Association and National Hydropower Association.

The four featured speakers will discuss, among other topics, ongoing development and rehab work that is adding clean, renewable electricity to the grid while preserving the safety and sustainability of water resource structures. These speakers are Colonel Luke T. Leonard, commander of the Louisville District of the Corps; Marc S. Gerken, P.E., president and chief executive officer of American Municipal Power Inc.; Paul W. Thompson, senior vice president of energy services for LG&E and KU Energy LLC; and Pierre L. Gauthier, president and chief executive officer, U.S. and Canada, of Alstom.

The closing luncheon on Friday, July 20, features the brand-new HydroVision International conference awards program. Awards will be given for best technical papers in five categories, as well as attendees’ choice for best panel discussion session of each day. In addition, Hydro Review editors will unveil the 2012 inductees into the Hydro Hall of Fame. This award recognizes hydro achievement throughout North America, with a special emphasis on long-lasting hydro facilities.

Multiple networking events provide opportunities to restore acquaintances and make new contacts. In addition to receptions in the exhibit hall on Tuesday and Wednesday, the event features a Lucky in Louisville party on Thursday, July 19.

The Waterpower® Hydro Basics Course is an offering by the Hydro Training Institute intended to educate individuals new to hydro or those who want to expand their areas of experience. Topics covered include the hydraulic design of a project, equipment basics, day-to-day operations, and how projects are regulated. A separate fee is charged for this two-day course, and pre-registration is required.

Conference sessions

HydroVision International features an extremely robust conference, with 49 interactive panel discussion presentations, 21 technical paper sessions, and three poster gallery sessions.

Panel presentations are interactive discussions that feature several experts on a particular topic. Each panelist gives a short presentation, and then the session is opened for audience questions and answers. This format provides an ideal opportunity for attendees to pose their questions to the experts and get immediate, insightful answers. The panel presentations are arranged in seven tracks that run the course of three days: asset management, civil works and dam safety, new development, ocean/tidal/stream power, operations and maintenance, policies and regulations, and water resources.

Technical paper presentations, which also run over the course of three days, feature papers that address a broad range of key technical issues and solutions. The ideas, innovations and practices provided during these sessions will stimulate your thinking and help you bring about similar improvements in your areas of interest. Technical sessions cover such topics as: dam safety and construction; pumped storage; operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of turbines; hydropower development and ecological/social sustainability; asset management and much more. Full conference delegates will receive access to all submitted final technical papers online.

Poster gallery presentations are another effective way to communicate, particularly with highly specialized topics that are more suited to small group or one-on-one discussions. Poster presentations run the gamut of topics, from designing hydroelectric powerhouses to operational challenges for older units when a new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license is issued. During each day’s poster gallery session, the author will be available to explain the presentation in detail. These sessions fall during the first conference session of the day, but posters remain up the entire day for viewing at your convenience.


To help event attendees get the most out of their time at HydroVision International, organizer PennWell Corporation offers DirectEventConnect, an interactive online community for hydropower professionals. DirectEventConnect, at http://community.hydroevent.com, allows exhibitors and attendees to connect before, during and after the event. Registered attendees can use the free online service weeks before the event begins to compare exhibitors’ products, set up meetings and target favorite exhibitors on a printable floor plan.

Every exhibitor at HydroVision International has a profile on DirectEventConnect, showcasing the company’s products and services. Attendees can preview companies and products featured on the exhibit floor or search for a product or service and get a list of supplying companies. Conference delegates can then request more information or send a meeting request to that supplier through the online community’s My Event Planner. Products, services and exhibitors of interest can be saved to your personalized Event Planner. You can build, refine and add to your Event Planner right from your desktop at no cost.

After bookmarking exhibitors and products or services, they are highlighted on your printable floor plan to use during the exhibition. My Event Planner has a series of features that help you plan your visit:

– Profile: View and update the personal data under which you will be listed on DirectEvent Connect;

– Messages: Receive information about your account, as well as messages from registered attendees and exhibitors who want to get in touch with you;

– Show Planner: Maximize your time by preparing your visit with a printable, customized floor map that targets the exhibitors you’re interested in;

– Favorites: Choose and monitor your favorite products, exhibitors or attendees;

– Calendar/Events: Save all important appointments and events to your personal calendar; and

– Matching Services: A free, personalized newsletter that keeps you informed about all new products, services and exhibitors of interest. You select the information in your newsletter.

Product locator kiosks situated throughout the exhibit floor also allow attendees to use the DirectEventConnect at the show to add to their Event Planner or target new exhibitors, products or services.

The poster gallery presentations at HydroVision International provide an opportunity to learn more about highly technical topics by meeting directly with the authors.
The poster gallery presentations at HydroVision International provide an opportunity to learn more about highly technical topics by meeting directly with the authors.


The more than 44,000 square feet of exhibit space offers access to companies operating in every aspect of hydroelectricity. More than 300 companies and organizations share their technologies and services for solving regulatory and technical challenges and for helping hydro professionals do their jobs more efficiently and cost-effectively.

This year’s HydroVision International will feature nearly 50 companies that have not previously exhibited at the event. These companies are located in Canada, China, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the U.S. Below are descriptions of some of these companies, the products and services they will exhibit, and why they chose to attend the event this year.

SeaView Systems

SeaView Systems Inc. in Dexter, Mich., was founded in 1998 to provide specialized services in the field of underwater technology. The company uses remotely operated vehicles and other underwater technology to perform investigations and measurement of underwater structures, including pipelines, tunnels, penstocks, draft tubes, dams and trashracks. SeaView systems also provides custom underwater tooling that, along with ROVs, is used to perform underwater construction and intervention tasks.

The company has performed investigations of tunnels up to 10,000 feet long and has the capability to inspect up to 30,000 feet of tunnel, says Geoff Cook, operations manager. One application of its expertise in the hydro industry was an underwater inspection of an 8,500-foot-long tunnel at the 25-MW Mamquam project on Skookum Creek in British Columbia, Canada.

SeaView Systems’ development of custom tooling involves quick turnaround solutions to unique and difficult problems, Cook says. For example, the company built a suite of tools for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to mount, with the assistance of an atmospheric diving suit, a 1-ton plate to a shaft wall at 400 feet water depth. The tooling suite included the design of a plate presentation assembly, robotic core drill, bolt insertion tool and precision bolt torquing tool, all with real-time surface control.

SeaView Systems says the decision to exhibit at HydroVision International was driven by the fact that overall attendance is international in nature and the organizations it wants to market its services to all seem to be attending.

Unit Electrical Engineering

Unit Electrical Engineering Ltd. in Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, Canada, is an electrical engineering and manufacturing company founded in 1990, with one of its specialty areas being hydro systems. In addition to packaging engineering services for electrical equipment, control system and balance of plant, Unit Electrical manufactures equipment as a complete package.

The company is active in the mining industry and uses its experience there to provide innovative solutions. For example, Unit Electric utilizes a lot of prefabrication for some of the equipment that serves to limit installation costs, says Rex Gould, a project coordinator specializing in the hydroelectric area of the company. This may be prefabricated intakes and power and control system buildings. Unit Electrical also packages all instrumentation and power equipment for rubber dam control systems or radial gate actuators into one building, he says.

Gould attended HydroVision International in 2011 for the first time. Seeing the extent of opportunities and the quality of the attendees led him to determine Unit Electrical needed to be more involved. The company is working on two hydro projects outside North America, one each in Dominican Republic and Greenland. It also is working on two in the U.S. in its role as subcontractor to turbine manufacturer Gilbert Gilkes and Gordon: Carter Lake in Colorado and a city of Sitka project in Alaska. The balance of the company’s work is in British Columbia.

Ametek Automation & Process Technologies

Ametek Automation & Process Technologies, headquartered in Clawson, Mich., provides industrial rotary and linear positioning type controls for industrial applications. Products the company plans to showcase at HydroVision include linear displacement transducers that can be used for governor control or control of intakes or sluice gates, as well as a variety of rotary products used within the hydroelectric industry.

The company works with original equipment manufacturers that supply controls to the hydroelectric industry, says Blake Cawley, sales manager for Ametek APT. Examples of companies to which they have supplied their products include Alstom, American Governor, Black & Veatch, Hatch, L&S Electric, Rodney Hunt, Siemens, Steel Fab, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Voith Hydro. Cawley says Ametek APT equipment is installed in dozens of hydro plants.

The company is exhibiting at Hydro-Vision for the first time after speaking with several of the OEMs for which it provides equipment and hearing about the quality of the event, Cawley says. Ametek APT is looking to expand its customer base at HydroVision.


Kaman was founded in 1945 to demonstrate a new rotor concept devised to make helicopters more stable and easier to fly. Since that time, the company has expanded to provide a variety of products to the power transmission and motion control markets, including bearings, material handling and fluid power.

The company also makes non-contact position/displacement sensors that are used in a variety of industries, says Dan Spohn, regional sales manager. Kaman’s inductive technology is ideal for the hydro environment in that it is very robust and not affected by the presence of moisture, he says. In fact, it has been used in underwater applications to measure the motion of devices.

In addition to its standard product line, which is applicable to the hydro industry, Kaman plans to showcase a brand new, yet-to-be named gap measurement system at HydroVision International. This device, developed specifically for the hydro market, is used for measuring the rotor-stator gap during alignment of the rotor to the stator. It is intended to make it quicker and easier to perform such gap measurements, which can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, Spohn says. Kaman will have a demonstration unit at the event to showcase this new application of its technology.

“Kaman has long recognized the strength of the hydro industry and has been considering developing an application-specific product for several years and showcasing it at HydroVision International,” Spohn says. “This is an opportunity to introduce our inductive position/displacement sensing technology, as well as Kaman’s capability to provide fully integrated application-specific solutions to meet market demands.”

Coppex Power Technologies

Coppex Power Technologies was established in 2010 in St.-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada, by two investors with expertise in specialty manufacturing and metallurgy.

The company focuses on the production of copper magnet wire, or winding wire, using a process that involves extruding the rough copper into a rec-tangular shape, says Louis Lemoine, vice president, chief operating officer and co-owner of Coppex. This shape allows the wire to be coiled on itself with minimal air gaps, he says.

Coppex then insulates the wire for the market segments the company serves:

– Transformers for power transmission and distribution;

– Power generation, including hydro, wind and gas; and

– Traction power motors for vehicles.

This is important because copper wire sees different challenges in service depending on the industry, Lemoine says. For hydro, the generator is always inside and operates at fairly consistent temperatures. The company can provide copper wire for generators made using coils or Roebel bars, he says.

Coppex is exhibiting at HydroVision because the content of the event and the exhibit floor fit its product and technology. The company seeks to be better-known in the industry, Lemoine says.

The company’s small size is a strength, he says. “We can provide all the quantities that fall between mass producers and distributors, with quick turnaround time. We reflect what I call the new generation of manufacturing in North America, which is moving away from mass production and becoming more customized.”

Alpha Boats Unlimited

Located in Weedsport, N.Y., Alpha Boats Unlimited manufactures water management equipment, such as aquatic harvesters, trash/debris skimmer vessels, transport and work barges, dredges, cranes, work boats and support equipment (trailers and shore/pier conveyors).

The company’s technology is in use in many locations to solve the problems of aquatic plant control and water pollution, including trash debris skimmers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., says Anne Seneca, sales/marketing director. The company is presently exporting a trash/debris skimmer to Ecuador, and Seneca says debris along with water hyacinths, an invasive species, are significant problems in South America, particularly with global warming and the use of fertilizers and detergents that boost nutrient levels in the water.

With all the trash and debris that accumulates near dams, the company has received inquiries from manufacturers and contractors at hydro facilities, she says. Given this interest, Alpha Boats believes HydroVision provides a good opportunity to introduce its products. Another draw is the fact that attendance is international in nature but does not require international travel, Seneca says.

To protect the environment, the company uses biodegradable hydraulic fluids and diesel engines with biodiesel capabilities. All equipment is made in the U.S., and Alpha Boats hopes the current export initiative will further its exports. “We would like to share our knowledge, expertise and equipment globally,” Seneca says.

Elizabeth Ingram is senior editor of Hydro Review and conference committee chair for HydroVision International.

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