In a spinoff on the famous saying: “April showers bring May flowers,” the National Hydropower Association says conversations and discussions held this week at the two events the non-profit group is organizing will lead to implementation of important new policies, best practices, and progress in the weeks and months to come.
“At Waterpower Week, the focus is on policy, regulations, legislation, and wholesale electric power markets here in the U.S. At ICOE, we are taking a deep dive (no pun intended!) into generating electricity using waves, tides, ocean currents, and riverine hydrokinetic energy throughout the world,” Woolf says.
At both events, we are offering attendees opportunity for education, networking, and a platform to do business, Woolf says. “And, what’s so important, is that all proceeds from the events’ attendee registration fees, exhibitor fees, and sponsorships go right back into the work of the association to advocate for waterpower in all its forms,” he states.
The following overview of each event shows the breadth of participation by thought leaders, experts, policy makers, and stakeholders.
What’s in store? A lot!
This year’s conference brings to attendees:
- The No. 2 person in charge at the U.S. Department of Energy
- The newest commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
- 3 federal lawmakers – one Senator and two Representatives
- 8 company CEOs
- Representatives of each regional wholesale electricity market organization in the U.S. (CAISO, ISO New England, MISO, and PJM Interconnection)
“I am especially proud of the fact that the program features speakers from not just industry but from a range of organizations that affect what happens with hydro,” Woolf says. Supplementing the views from nearly 20 hydro project owners and developers will be individuals from tribes, the river and environmental communities, non-profit associations and think tanks, federal and state resource agencies, the U.S. Department of Energy and its national laboratories, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Congressional staff.
The program features several “bread and butter”-type issues for hydro – topics that are at the core of the daily regulatory related work going on:
- FERC relicensing
- Dam safety-related regulations
- Working with stakeholders and tribes
These sessions are being offered twice during the week, to make it more convenient for attendees who are working in a variety of time zones.
In addition, the event’s speakers will provide answers to several trending questions:
- How to fund infrastructure and clean energy projects?
- How can hydro help reduce emissions in the transportation sector?
- How to manage flexibility in the operation of your turbine?
- Can basin-scale decision making and off-site mitigation work for licensees, stakeholders, and regulators?
- What progress is being made in valuing hydro’s contribution to electric power delivery?
- What’s the role of innovation in the world of renewable energy?
- How to meet the challenges of ensuring a diverse workforce?
New this year, NHA is featuring sessions and roundtable discussions led by experts who work for several of the event’s sponsors, including American Hydro, Ames Construction, Black & Veatch, GE Renewable Energy, HDR, Kleinschmidt, Ontario Power Generation, and Voith Hydro. Our sponsors have extensive knowledge and expertise that can help move the industry forward, Woolf says. We are grateful to the thoughtful approach the sponsors have taken in developing this useful, valuable content.
Waterpower Week highlights:
- Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David Turk will be the Speaker of the Day for the Opening Plenary on Tuesday, April 27 at 11:30 AM ET to discuss the Biden Administration’s climate and clean energy goals and DOE’s work to support this vision of a clean energy future.
- This will segue into the Opening Plenary Panel on Uncommon Dialogue, a historic joint statement by the river and climate communities, Tribal nations, and the hydropower industry to advance both climate and conservation goals.
- On April 28, the new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Commissioner Allison Clements will headline as the Speaker of the Day. She will share insight on FERC initiatives that impact hydro project owners and operators, resource agencies, and other stakeholders, as well as her views on the role waterpower technologies could play in the clean energy transition.
- On Thursday, April 29 at 3:15 PM ET, NHA will recognize three Federal lawmakers for their support of the waterpower industry: Senator Lisa Murkowski, Representative Paul Tonko, Representative David McKinley.
More than 400 marine energy researchers, educators, engineers, biologists, ecologists, technology developers, business leaders, and university students from 23 countries are set to participate in ICOE.
NHA’s Marine Energy Council, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy and Ocean Energy Systems (OES), is organizing the three-day virtual event. OES is an intergovernmental technology collaboration program involving the 29 member countries of the International Energy Agency.
“NHA is proud to be organizing this event – the first time ICOE has ever been hosted by the United States,” Woolf says. “Here in the United States, we believe that the marine energy industry is poised for gigawatt (GW) scale deployment in the coming decade. President Biden and Congress have proposed an ambitious target of achieving 100 percent clean electricity by 2035, and tapping into just a fraction of marine energy’s potential could help make that a reality.”
Headliner speakers who will address the attendees include:
- U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David Turk
- Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
- U.S. House of Representative Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon
- Bertrand Piccard, explorer and chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, which just released its “1,000 Solutions,” 1,000 technological solutions capable of protecting the environment in a financially profitable way. Among the solutions are several waterpower-related ones.
- Kelly Speakes-Backman, Acting Assistant Secretary for DOE
- Trade organization CEOs, including: Remi Gruet, Ocean Energy Europe, and Malcolm Woolf, National Hydropower Association
Much of the discussion at the ICOE event will focus on the progress that is being made in this emerging sector, with success stories of technology and project advancement in Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, and North America.
One of the projects the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) — premiere sponsor of ICOE — recently pointed to in terms of marine energy progress in the United States is Verdant Power’s East River Tidal Power Project. According to DOE, after six months in New York City’s East River, Verdant’s TriFrame mount housing three tidal power turbines will be retrieved and replaced with a rotor containing three thermoplastic blades—blades created using advanced manufacturing techniques in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
This entire operation—from Verdant Power’s aim to demonstrate a streamlined installation and maintenance approach to NREL’s loads data analysis and materials research—has the potential to inform future materials and turbine deployment across the marine energy industry, says DOE.
On Earth Day 2021, DOE released a video explaining the progress with this project.
ICOE will also feature plenty of lessons learned by marine energy experts on a wide range of topics, including insurance, cost effective operations and maintenance, and anchors and foundations.
In addition, interesting discussions are in store regarding where marine energy can play a role in non-traditional markets, such as ocean observation, underwater vehicle charging, marine aquaculture, desalination for islanded communities, and hydrogen production.
Paul Holthus, CEO of the World Ocean Council, will lead a discussion about the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Panelists in the session will focus on current trends in ocean science and sustainable ocean development
Additional topics on tap include:
- Financing projects and how the sector is beginning to gain traction in the finance world
- Transmission grid integration
- Improved forecasting of wave energy to optimize energy storage
- How to improve the economic value of marine energy using analysis tools to optimize technoeconomic performance and reduce LCOE
- Increasing social acceptance of marine technologies
- How to simplify permitting and licensing processes
- National and international efforts toward establishing standards and certifications
- Wave energy converter technologies and their interactions within arrays and the ocean environment
In all, ICOE features 117, speakers, 100 poster presentations, and 34 exhibitors.