Second Annual “Ear to the River” Survey Reveals Key Insights into the North American Hydroelectric Industry

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Second Annual “Ear to the River” Survey Reveals Key Insights into the North American Hydroelectric Industry

DATE:

May 5, 2023

BY:

Tim Oakes, Business Sector Leader, Power and Energy, Kleinschmid

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Second Annual “Ear to the River” Survey Reveals Key Insights into the North American Hydroelectric Industry

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The Ontario Waterpower Association, the Hydropower Foundation, and Kleinschmidt Associates are pleased to announce the results of the second annual “Ear to the River” survey. Launched in 2021, the survey aims to explore the North American hydroelectric industry by providing insights beyond publicly available information, such as Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) filings, which may not fully capture the industry’s future trajectory.

The “Ear to the River” survey serves as a valuable resource for hydroelectric asset owners, showcasing the strategies and perspectives of industry peers across North America. It also supports advocacy efforts by supplying data on the potential impact of various policies on the industry’s role in the clean energy transition. Furthermore, the survey helps vendors and suppliers identify opportunities within the thriving clean energy sector.

“The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) was pleased to once again partner with Kleinschmidt Associates and the Hydropower Foundation for the second annual Ear to the River survey,” says Janelle Bates, Director of Communications and Member Relations, with the Ontario Waterpower Association, “This annual analysis of the waterpower industry allows asset owners from across North America to provide their perspectives on the current state and future of the waterpower industry. Additionally, the information collected provides our Association with valuable data and insights that can be used to support our advocacy efforts to ensure that waterpower is part of Ontario’s clean energy future.”

Industry partners and advisors crafted the survey’s focus. GreatBlue Research, a professional survey firm, conducted and managed the research process. The survey remained open until mid-November 2022, and the final results are now available. Confidentiality of all respondents and individual responses has been maintained, with findings presented by industry segment and geographic region, where possible.

The survey received responses from asset owners across the United States and Canada. Various types of organizations participated, including independent hydropower producers and municipally owned electric utilities.

Key findings from the “Ear to the River” survey include:

  • 75% of respondents said the retirement of skilled craft/trade and engineering talent was a “major or moderate” concern.
  • Over 50% of U.S. and Canadian respondents plan to incorporate new technologies or innovations in the next three years.
  • Over 70% of respondents do not have Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives in place. While the survey may not have captured the complete picture of DEI in the industry, it is clear that more work needs to be done.

“The impacts of retirement and concerns about finding people has been an issue looming over the hydro industry for many years but it is more heightened than ever before since the hydro industry is not static but is growing and dynamic and will need to continue to attract talent in many areas” says Tim Oakes, Business Sector Leader, Power and Energy, with Kleinschmidt.

While the survey saw a decrease in participation compared to its inaugural year in 2021, the organizers believe that the wide range of survey topics may have posed challenges for larger organizations to respond.

As the team prepares for the 2023 edition, they are eager to hear thoughts and questions from industry peers, as well as ideas on increasing participation in future surveys. Recognizing the busy schedules of industry professionals, the organizers are exploring creative ways to engage with the community and gain a better understanding of future trends without placing undue demands on anyone’s time.

The “Ear to the River” survey team remains excited about the possibilities and looks forward to collaborating with industry partners to ensure the survey continues to be a valuable resource for the hydropower community.

If you would like to learn more about the survey, or get on the list to participate in upcoming survey efforts, please email solutions@kleinschmidtgroup.com.

To view and/or download the survey click here.  If you would like to learn more about the survey, or get on the list to participate in upcoming survey efforts, please email solutions@kleinschmidtgroup.com.