During the week of March 11, 2024, the water power industry will gather in Washington, D.C., for National Hydropower Association’s (NHA) Waterpower Week.
Running from March 13 – 15, 2024, the event provides a unique opportunity for attendees to concentrate on regulatory, policy, markets, and legislative aspects of their work. Additionally, attendees will have the chance to hear from and network with others who affect the industry – regulators, resource agencies, and environmental communities.
With an abundance of content and opportunities to network and engage, attendees are tasked with determining their path for the event. To help make the most of Waterpower Week, NHA created this article to aid attendees in identifying the topic areas most relevant to their interests.
The National Hydropower Association (NHA) is declaring March 13, 2024, as Hydro Advocacy Day, and is asking anyone working in the water power industry to take time that day to visit the offices of their legislators in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The intent is to make policy makers aware of hydropower in all its forms and to advance important water power priorities.
If you’re new to advocacy, or a practiced hand, NHA offers support to participants by arranging Hill meetings, providing a session on how to lobby and communicate legislative priorities, and much more. With additional sessions designed to explore continuing this critical work outside of the event, NHA seeks to impart the power and importance of effective advocacy.
General Topics Impacting Water Power:
Waterpower Week covers a wide range of topic areas critical to the industry. The below sessions provide important opportunities for communications professionals, as well as the opportunity to discuss major issues affecting the future of water power, such as managing the hurdles of the supply chain in the post-COVID era and developing effective strategies for ensuring the future of the water power workforce.
The past few years have seen generational funding for hydropower from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which directed billions of dollars in investment in building new projects, as well as maintaining and enhancing existing infrastructure.
While this funding is being rolled out, NHA has sought clarity on how various facets of hydropower are able to utilize the bill’s tax credits, such as determining how existing hydropower can benefit from the IRA without adding new generation by seeking clarification from Treasury and IRS about the 80/20 Rule.
Traditional hydropower content at Waterpower Week goes beyond funding sources. With a session aimed at assessing the investment landscape for pumped storage and hydro projects, as well as a session about understanding the importance of safe downstream passage for aquatic life, attendees seeking more information about hydropower will have ample opportunity to learn and engage.
Last year, California passed marine energy-centric legislation with Governor Gavin Newson (D-CA) signing S.B. 605, the “Wave and Tidal Energy Bill,” into law.
In 2021, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that the technical resource potential of marine energy in the U.S. was estimated to be 2,300 terra-watt hours (TWh) per year, which is equivalent to 57% of the electricity generated in the U.S. in 2019. Tapping into one-tenth of U.S. marine energy resources would provide enough electricity to power 22 million homes.
Attending Waterpower Week turns marine energy’s theoretical potential into reality by connecting developers with federal government contacts while providing a platform for emerging technologies and trends. To better understand the growing importance of marine energy, as well as the innovations shaping its future, NHA has devoted six sessions and one committee/council meeting to the topic.
Policy and Regulatory Topics:
Waterpower Week in D.C. takes full advantage of its location and proximity to Capitol Hill, attracting speakers from federal agencies, who offer expert insight into the biggest topics impacting water power. Whether attendees are hearing from representatives at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) various offices or listening to speakers with deep knowledge of the industry, Waterpower Week provides unprecedented access to the industry’s top minds.
Pumped storage is one of the hottest topics in water power, and NHA is excited to offer three sessions and one member’s only meeting on the topic.
Last year, National Renewable Energy Laboratory released a report about pumped storage hydropower and found that closed-loop is the greenest renewable energy technology for large-scale energy storage. Yet, despite the incredible benefits pumped storage provides (long duration energy storage, black start capabilities), the addition of significant new capacity to the grid has not occurred since 1990.
Understanding the landscape, permitting and licensing obstacles, and financial costs of these projects is paramount for the water power industry, and Waterpower Week provides the framework for important conversations and learning opportunities to occur.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To learn more about the schedule for NHA’s Waterpower Week, click here.
To register for Waterpower Week, click here.