NHA’s Southeast Regional Meeting Heads to Auburn, Alabama

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NHA’s Southeast Regional Meeting Heads to Auburn, Alabama

DATE:

January 8, 2024

BY:

Jeremy Chase-Israel, Content Development Specialist, National Hydropower Association

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NHA’s Southeast Regional Meeting Heads to Auburn, Alabama

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The New Year is here, which means National Hydropower Association’s Regional Meeting series is starting fresh for 2024 with the Southeast Regional Meeting in Auburn, Alabama, from January 23 – 24, 2024. The Southeast Regional Meeting is an excellent opportunity for water power professionals across hydropower and pumped storage to connect and learn alongside one another.

This year’s Southeast Regional Meeting will take place at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, which is located in the heart of Auburn. Hosted by Alabama Power Company and Georgia Power Company, and sponsored by 23 organizations, the meeting offers insight to those looking to stay up to date on the issues and opportunities affecting water power across the Southeast.

NHA’s Southeast Regional Meeting provides a forum to address regional issues and location-specific challenges, as well as exploring topics top-of-mind for the Southeastern water power community.

TOUR INFORMATION

Alabama Power will be providing two tours for participants of NHA’s Southeast Regional Meeting. The tours, which both take place the morning of Tuesday, January 23, leave from the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.  The tour opportunities, which include lunch, require no additional fee, and participants must sign-up for a tour when registering for the event; additionally, participants won’t be able to switch tours the day of the event and must bring valid government identification.

Tour of Martin Dam

The Martin Dam is located on the Tallapoosa River, and it was constructed in the 1920’s to provide flood control, as well as hydroelectric power. Originally named Cherokee Bluffs Dam, the project later earned its “Martin” moniker in honor of Thomas Wesley Martin, who was president of the Alabama Power Company at the time of construction.

With a height of 168 feet and a length of 2,000 feet, Martin Dam is a 182.5 MW project containing four Francis turbines – three of which are from the original construction – and it generates more than 327 million kilowatt-hours (KWh) each year.

In order to attend the tour of Martin Dam, which has a maximum capacity of 50, participants must fill out the waiver form here. Once the waiver has been completed, please send it to Ellie Rubalow at ellie@hydro.org.

Pontoon Boat Tour

If you’ve ever wanted to explore one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States, Alabama Power has arranged for an exciting pontoon boat tour of Lake Martin. The 44,000-acre reservoir has over 750 miles of wooded shoreline.

The third largest lake in Alabama, Martin Lake, named in honor of former Alabama Power President Thomas Wesley Martin, is a popular recreation area for swimming, boating, skiing, camping, and golfing.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about Alabama Power’s shoreline management and public recreation aspects and activities. Additionally, the tour of Lake Martin will include visits to a number of sites, including: Alabama Power’s “Preserves” public recreation sites, Harbor Point, The Camp at Long Leaf, and other notable landmarks as time permits.

The pontoon boat tour has a maximum capacity of 40 attendees, and with spots filling fast, interested registrants are encouraged to sign-up quickly.

EXPLORING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

NHA’s regional meetings are a gathering place for the water power industry, and they often feature local and state legislators, representatives from national organizations, and speakers from the Federal government and national labs.

The upcoming Southeast Regional Meeting will run a workshop on Tuesday, January 23, titled “Dam Safety Workshop: Performing Comprehensive Assessments – Lessons Learned, Best Practices, and What Comes Next?” Open to all attendees, the workshop focuses on undertaking Comprehensive Assessments under FERC’s new guidelines, and the workshop occurs after Tuesday’s tours have concluded.

One notable feature of NHA’s Regional Meeting series are the expert speakers, who provide insight into a wealth of topics top-of-mind for the water power industry, and the meeting will play host to several important information sharing sessions on Wednesday, January 24, such as:

  • A History of Alabama Power Company’s Hydropower Development – Alabama Power Company has a legacy of utilizing hydropower to benefit the people of Alabama, and this session will review the history of some of Alabama Power’s hydropower projects, as well as the importance of these projects to both Alabama Power and the state of Alabama.
  • Flexibility is Hydro’s Superpower, but at What Cost? Insights on Opportunities and Costs of Providing this Service to the Grid – Hydropower has a huge role to play in balancing intermittent and non-dispatchable energy resources on the grid, and this session will explore what this means at the equipment and asset level.
  • Funding for Hydro: Dollars are Flowing! Putting Financial Incentives from Federal Legislation to Work – Funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and Inflation Reduction Act are beginning to flow, and this session aims to provide more information about how recipients of federal financial incentives are putting that money to work.
  • Modernization of the Federal Fleet in the Southeast – Hear from federal power producers and gain insight into which assets and projects will be upgraded, total expected investment, timeline, ROI, and how suppliers can engage in the effort.
  • Pumped Storage: Updates on Project Development and Expansion in the Southeast – Exploring the current state of pumped storage hydropower in the United States, the session provides an overview of the compensation models as well as the roadblocks that must be overcome to enable this critical energy storage technology.
  • Spillway Gates – Trends and Lessons Learned – Renewed emphasis has been placed on the reliability of both head and spillway gates due to the frequency of use, and the critical role of monitoring, maintenance/inspection techniques, approaches to refurbishment, and risk management will be explored.
  • Water Power Market Trends in the Southeast – Important insights can be gleaned from the 2023 Hydropower Market Report, which was published by DOE and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and this session will examine the trends for the southeastern region of the U.S. in terms of new developments, workforce challenges, investment in existing fleets, and addressing environmental related challenges.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

If you’re interested in attending NHA’s Southeast Regional Meeting, check out the event site here for details on hotel accommodations, registration rates, a schedule of events, and the meeting agenda.

If you need additional assistance, please reach out to Ellie Rubalow, Events Specialist at NHA, for more information (ellie@hydro.org).