Will tidal power hold a place in the United States' energy policy future? The National Hydropower Association recently held its annual conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss the implementation of hydropower technologies, hydropower licensing, and its goals for the 110th Congress. During today's E&ETV Event Coverage, the NHA takes a look at what needs to be done legislatively to bring more attention to hydropower in a discussion entitled, "The Power of Moving Water." Speakers discuss upcoming legislation and potential debates relating to this energy source.
Linda Church Ciocci: Good afternoon. Welcome to the NHA's 2007 annual conference, "Hydropower: The Power of Moving Water." I am Linda Church Ciocci, NHA's executive director. And it is my privilege to officially open this year's conference and to kick off our dynamic and exciting program.
Water, it is the sustenance of life. It is a critical component of all that we are and all that we do here in the hydropower industry. It fuels our bodies and fuels the industry. We often forget how powerful water is. But for anyone that has been knocked down by a wave at a beach or caught in a whirlpool in a river, for every parent who has watched their child at a swollen stream or every crew member who has rowed against a current, we know that water holds much power. It is the essence of our life, the essence of our industry. It is perhaps one of the most powerful resources on earth. We respect it, we steward it with the best technology and with the best management knowledge known today. Yet have we truly maximized the value it holds for us? Not just the value it holds within our industry or the value it holds in offering us one of the higher standards of quality of life within the world, but have we truly maximized the opportunity it offers our nation in meeting today's major challenges for a clean, new energy supply?
The NHA 2000 conference examines this question from our opening pre-conference on building new hydropower to the sessions on policies and regulations, on tapping new resources of moving water, from our session examining the federal system, government dams, private hydro, what's happening, to the session on climate change and the role hydropower can play in addressing this critical global challenge. Our conference program offers the opportunity to discuss the question can we increase our energy production? Can we meet new energy demand with clean and renewable water power, hydropower in all of its forms? And the answer to this question, as you will see throughout this conference, is a resounding yes. And it will become even more clear the contribution hydropower can make later in this program when EPRI makes a major announcement on the results of its latest study, a report requested by NHA. While I will not steal the thunder of our opening speaker, we need to keep in mind that hydropower, in all of its forms, has tremendous potential. Some say it could double its current contribution. That's a tremendous amount of clean, renewable energy. Even if only 25 percent of this is real, what a tremendous source, all this new clean energy from maximizing our existing resources without building a single new dam. What are we waiting for?
Today our nation faces tremendous energy challenges. Electricity demand is expected to grow by alarming numbers. Can we meet that demand with clean energy sources? Congress will soon demand new energy standards as it struggles to address the growing concern over greenhouse gases. There is no question that the issue of climate change has reached a critical mass. Concern over carbon reduction has tremendously impacted policy. It is the engine that will put renewable energy portfolio standards, clean energy standards, and greenhouse gas reductions front and center, not only in the nation's capital, but in state capitals, in city halls around the country. And the clamor for more domestic sources, as we fight to become energy independent, only grows louder. Today we import more than 60 percent of our energy. Can we afford to continue to do so in a world filled with so much political instability? For more than a century hydropower has provided clean, reliable, renewable energy. It is an age-old technology and yet it is new again. It offers so many solutions in meeting what appears to be perhaps the largest energy challenge we have faced in decades.
Hydropower, in all of its forms, offers us tremendous opportunity to meet growing energy demand with a stable, clean, and home-grown source. The question before us is how do we get that message across? How do we get policymakers to pay attention and stakeholders to understand that hydropower is as much a part of the solution as the oar is to that crew member I mentioned at the beginning of this remark. That shell needs the oar to propel and guide it. Hydropower is the core, renewable resource that will help to guide our nation so that it can truly rely more on clean, renewable energy to meet what we expect to be aggressive renewable and clean energy standards. Without hydropower our nation stands much to lose, with it, it has everything to gain. So what is NHA doing to get the message across? Later in this program you will hear from our president who will provide you with a recap of the many accomplishments of this past year. But before he does I'd like to lay out a few key points of what I believe we need to do.
First we need to show that hydropower can grow. It can meet new energy demand and not just in drips and drabs, but it's a major contributor for both baseload and distributed energy. We need to prove that it is sustainable, that we rely on evolving technology and new-day management practices which balance the need to produce energy with the equally important need to protect our natural resources. We need to be sexy to dispel hydro's image as an old, tired technology that has outlived its usefulness, but rather that we are for every evolving, constantly and consistently responding to a changing world. We need to be aggressively engaged in policy development, to be a player at the table as tough issues are debated, to meet these issues head on, end-to-end, we need to be there with solutions.
Finally, we need to step up our game and be far more outspoken, far more strategic in our communications, far more aggressive in our outreach here in Washington and around the country. NHA has worked hard over this last year to step up our game, to dispel an old image, to address tough issues, and to prepare the organization for a new era of hydropower growth. All that we have done this past year has been focused on one major goal, to showcase hydropower's potential and put this wonderful resource in a new light as an every evolving and growing clean energy source that stands as our best hope in meeting new energy demand in a changing and uncertain world. I urge you, over the course of these next few days, these coming weeks, and the month ahead to carry the same message. We stand as the nation's best hope. We stand ready to rise to the occasion. We can make a difference. We are powerful. We are the power of moving water. Thank you. Before I turn the podium over I have a few quick housekeeping announcements that I would like to make. First, I would like to thank the many people who were involved in the development of this conference. They had a great deal of energy and creativity and they really are the engine that make this meeting, I think, valuable to all of you, and that's the conference planning committee, the moderators of the sessions, the speakers, and the sponsors. So please join me in thanking all of them for their hard work in making this meeting so important. Second, the times. Leslie would be quite upset if I didn't remind you that we need to keep this meeting on time. That when you hear this sound [CHIMES] this is our polite way of telling you it's time to move to the next session. So, please, listen to those chimes and get onto the next session so that we can keep our program on time.
On Saturday morning we're delighted that Commissioner Phil Moeller is going to be here. He'll be talking about recent actions on permitting new technologies and a whole host of other issues important to our industry. I urge you to attend that session and, again, to try to get there on time. Following Commissioner Moeller we're doing a major session on climate change. I urge all of you please to be at that session and participate. Climate change will drive energy policy over the course of the next year, maybe longer. You need to understand it. We need to be engaged in the debate. And our session on Saturday really is our hope of being able to kick off a dialogue that will get us far more engaged in this very, very critical issue. Don't forget our luncheon on Friday with Assistant Secretary for Water and Science from the Department of Energy. He'll be here to talk to us about some new initiatives within the department, of federal and private cooperation. I think you will enjoy and be excited about what he has to say.
Also, Saturday afternoon we have our committee meetings. We've gone to a new format at this conference. I know it is hard to stay until the end of the meeting, until the end of this conference to attend those various meetings, but we are a member driven organization and we do that through our committee system. It's very important for you to stay and participate in those meetings. So I hope you will consider doing that. And my last message to you is the same message as I give you every year at the opening of this conference, it is so critical for you to go to the Hill while you're here in town. As I've said before all politics is local. You, not us, are the best advocates for this industry. With a new Congress and so many issues before them we need for the hydropower message as a clean energy solution to be made and made a priority. And that will only happen if you go up to the Hill this week and spend some time getting your members to understand that.
And so now I am happy to be at that point of the program where I'm going to be turning the podium over to our president, Dave Youlen. You have led this organization over this last year with tremendous energy, creativity, and excitement. You have had an amazing year. You set a hard and fast pace for all of us at the staff level, and I think among the board members as well. You've lead with tremendous conviction and passion and I want to thank you for a fabulous year, and I hope all of you join me. So, with that I'm happy to turn the program over to our president, Dave Youlen.
David J. Youlen: Good afternoon and thank you Linda. For those in the back there's lots of seats up here. If you'd like I'll take a second and ... OK, I'll get started. Over the past year NHA and its members have spent a considerable amount of time on Capitol Hill stressing the need for growth of hydro at existing facilities, at non-hydro dams, and by using new ocean, title and in-stream technologies. As we shared this message with policy makers often times we were asked, "Does the industry have a specific plan of how to achieve this growth?" What we quickly realized is we needed a roadmap for illustrating hydropower's specific growth potential. I am pleased to announce that this roadmap now exists thanks to the efforts of EPRI.
This brand new report is going to be a vital tool in our industry's work with Congress and our outreach with the public. The information in this report can be used to illustrate the amount of growth potential in this industry and serve as a way to show policymakers and the public what can actually be achieved by investing in hydro related research and development. Today, for the first time, EPRI is formally releasing the findings in its new hydro roadmap. Basically when you're up on the Hill and you fear to be asked the question about if we give you all this R&D money, what would you do with it? Well, we had to come up with a roadmap which not only shows the types of R&D we would do, but also the gain that we would achieve in additions to hydro in this country.
Representing EPRI today to share these results is Doug Dixon, a senior project manager and the program manager of EPRI's Hydropower Environmental Issues Research Program. Please join me in welcoming Doug Dixon.
Doug Dixon: Thank you Dave. Just first thing, I'm a scientist, not a speech giver. More than a scientist I'm a biologist, and even worse than that, I'm a fisheries biologist. So I'm going to be using in front of me some slides that I will go through. Obviously you can't see them, but it's just kind of prompts for me to talk about the things that I want to hit relative to the study. But, again, thank you Dave and Linda for the introduction. I did briefly think about wearing today my basketball referee outfit. In addition to being a scientist I also have 30 years experience refereeing basketball. And given that, it's the apropos time to be wearing a basketball uniform. I thought it might have been memorable if I stood up here in stripes. But I decided probably not a good idea.
Anyway, one number that I'd like you to remember from this presentation, from this opening is 23,000 megawatts of power. That is the estimate, the very conservative estimate that we have come to as a result of the project I'm going to give you the details about. But before I do I want to make some acknowledgments. I believe that we should acknowledge right at the beginning rather than at the end.
And first I want to acknowledge the vision of Dave Youlen and Linda Church Ciocci for bringing this idea for this research project to EPRI and giving us this opportunity to perform the work. However, I'm also standing up here representing a lot of hard work that's gone on over the past several months, but I'm not the key person that did that work and those two are Mike Bahleda and Marianne Adinessio or you might know better as Marianne Husko. They have been the predominant people that have led this effort and put it together. However, this effort is also the result of some major work by many others prior to EPRI just kind of pulling this all together and those include the people at DOE's national labs. People like Doug Holtz here today. Mike Sail I know is here today. All the work they have done, the work of my colleagues at EPRI, particularly Roger Bedard and some of the exciting work that he is doing nowadays with the new breed of water power technologies, specifically hydrokinetic turbines and wave energy devices. And also the innovators of those devices have also made this presentation and this study possible. And then, finally, it is the people who reviewed the report, who commented on the report, who critiqued the report, I would love to go down the list but I know I'll miss somebody, so I'll just thank you as a group for the effort.
If there's one minute to pay attention this is the minute to pay attention. This is the presentation in a nutshell. First thing, what we are talking about as far as water power is conventional hydropower as everybody here knows it, but it also includes the new emerging field of hydrokinetic turbines and wave energy devices and ocean energy devices. We estimate that the available resource, conservatively estimated, and the entire resource has not been assessed, but based on what has been assessed we estimate that there is about 85,000 to 95,000 megawatts of water power energy that is out there to be tapped. However, all of that cannot be tapped, obviously. We estimate that by 2025, a very conservative estimate is that 23,000, that number that I mentioned at the beginning, 23,000 megawatts can be tapped in approximately the next 20 years. In addition to that new capacity addition, efficiency gains at existing hydropower projects we estimate as between 2 and 5 percent.
If Pat March was probably here he would probably say that number is low. He probably would say you can probably get 6 percent if you look at the accomplishments with the one open turbine, they're actually getting 14 percent. But essentially with the efficiency improvements, an additional 5,000 to 14,000 gigawatt hours or roughly another 3000 megawatts of energy is available. So essentially we're getting pretty close to an estimate of about 30,000 megawatts of power that's out there over the next 20 years. However, that's not going to come about as a result of fairy dust. There's got to be a lot of research, development, deployment, and demonstration that has to occur in order for that potential to be realized. There is also the need for economic incentives and there's also the need for some type of regulatory enhancements so some of these projects can be brought online further. Also, we can't just simply say this is all going to happen without some type of program.
So, again, the program, this report proposes what we call an advanced water energy initiative program which outlines basically the pathway that will be followed towards attaining this ultimate accomplishment. A little background on how this project got started. Dave gave a little bit of an introduction to that area, but as you all know the DOE program has been canceled. However, there is significant, unfinished advanced turbine technology and system optimization research that has not been completed. There is also zippo funding for any of the emerging water power technologies. This has happened or it has been happening despite the fact that within EPAC 2005 there is a clear congressional mandate for research on advanced turbines and also for research on the developing water power technologies. The other energy sectors, biomass, solar, wind, have been very successful in getting federal funding support for R&D. However, hydropower has fallen short in that area. And as Dave mentioned, there has been no consolidated information resource that can be used that you can bring to Congress and say if you give us the R&D money, you know, we can attain this amount of power in the future. With that background, Dave came to me at the HydroVision Conference last August and said could EPRI work with NHA to put this assessment together? And I said it just was a tremendous opportunity and we jumped at it.
What was our approach? We reviewed the current state of knowledge on the water power industry, including the new emerging technologies. We gathered all of the resource assessments that had been performed over the past 20 years. We did not do any new resource assessments for this project. We simply just gather them all together from all the various sources. Predominantly from the Department of Energy, all the great hydropower resource work that Doug Hall has managed, also the work that EPRI has done with the emerging hydrokinetic and wave energy devices and many others in the industry that have done some type of resource assessments. Once we completed that resource assessment then we looked at, well, out of that resource, what can be attained? Then we reviewed the types and importance of the economic incentives towards achieving some of the goals. And then we identified what were the key research development, deployment, and demonstration needs and the required funding to accomplish that? Put it all together in what I referred to it earlier as the Advanced Water Energy Initiative Program.
First, what is the resource? Obviously, its capacity additions that exist in hydro as we know it. It's efficiency improvements at existing hydro. It's new capacity at non-powered dams and it includes some amount of new development. It also includes tapping the motion of water in undammed water courses. It includes in-stream, rivers, streams, tidal, tides, ocean currents and constructed waterways. And it also includes the energy that could be capped from waves.
What is water power? Obviously conventional hydropower, you know all about that. The new, emerging, exciting stuff, not to say that conventional hydropower is not exciting, and I'm going to come back to that in just a bit. But the new water power technologies that I've already mentioned include the hydrokinetic turbines, in-stream, tides, ocean currents, and the wave energy devices. The emerging technologies are very exciting. In the area of hydrokinetic turbines we have the horizontal-axis turbines that act much like wind turbines. We had the vertical-axis turbines, Venturi devices, oscillating devices. In the area of wave energy technologies we have the articulating or attenuating devices, much like the Pelamis device you might have seen pictures of at some point in time. It looks like a snake deployed in the ocean that converts that wave energy to electrical energy. We have point absorbers, much like buoys that just bob in the ocean and you convert that to electrical energy. Overtopping devices and oscillating water column devices are just some of the new technologies that are currently out there and that are in the early phases of development.
As far as our resource assessment, we estimate that the total available resource for conventional hydropower, going from low-power to large hydro, is about 62,000 megawatts of power. This is composed of about 4300 megawatts from large and small hydro with capacity additions, and new capacity from small and low-power hydro, including powering non-powered dams, another 58,000 megawatts. And in addition, not included in that 62000 megawatts that I mentioned for traditional hydropower is about 3000 megawatts of power, equivalent power that would come from efficiency improvements, estimated to be at about four percent. In the hydrokinetic area we estimate 12,800 megawatts of available resource. And I want to stress that tidal resource has only been assessed for five states. And ocean current resource, including what's in the Gulf Stream, has not been assessed at all. So that is not even in these numbers. In the wave energy area the resource assessments are a bit more difficult to come up with, but we come up with estimates between 10,000 to 20,000 megawatts of wave energy resource. As part of this project we did not look at pump storage. If you add those numbers up, hopefully my math is correct, it'll be 85,000 to 95,000 megawatts, that's the resource that's available.
What can be tapped? We estimate that over the next three to four years almost a thousand, specifically 724 megawatts of power, new power, can be brought online, but, again, by 2025, 23,000 megawatts. I'm repeating that number. The numbers break out for conventional hydropower, total about 10,000 megawatts. That breaks out as capacity gains at existing projects about 2300 megawatts; 2700 megawatts for new small and low-power hydro; and new hydro at existing dams, or non-powered dams, another 5000 megawatts; hydrokinetic, about 3000 megawatts of that resource, as I said earlier, of about almost 13,000 can be tapped by 2025; and 10,000 megawatts of ocean wave energy. How do we get there? Obviously it's a big thing and to accomplish it we need a program of research, development, deployment and demonstration, RDD&D. And that program has to embrace the essential elements of an environmental protection and improved performance of turbines, generators. We also have to have a program of RDD&D in efficiency improvements.
One of the things I want to mention is this is not a mature industry. One of a bone that's always been in my throat relative to working on the public affairs committee for NHA is that hydropower is often considered to be a mature industry. In fact, we started out with the press release, initially for this new project, is that hydropower is not tapped out. And what we want to say is that's leading with a negative. Let's lead with a positive. When you get 14 percent efficiency improvements that life is being experienced at the waterfront project, that's definitely not evidence of maturity and evidence of tremendous opportunity that's out there. We did not, as part of this project, look at regulatory improvements. I know it's an issue near and dear to all of your hearts. However, to make that case you really need to come up with documentation of how the current regulatory structure may inhibit the development of some of these technologies. We do bring up the topic, but we do not dwell on it in this document. I can't stress the importance of research and development.
Over the past 30 years there is a greater than a 95 percent correlation between the amount of money that's gone into R&D funding and the amount of patents that have been filed in the patent office. Unfortunately, when you look at the same information for the energy sector it is also a very good correlation of greater than 95 percent, but it's negative. Basically there has been a steady decline in R&D funding for the energy sector, this is the overall energy sector, including nuclear, coal, and everywhere else. There's been a steady decline over the past 30 years. In fact, if you look at the R&D funding in the energy sector it does lag behind most of the other major industries, including drugs, medicine, health research, communication equipment, metal industry, things like that, that energy unfortunately is coming out very low on a relative basis. There are exciting technology developments going on. Wave energy devices, EPRI has a very aggressive program looking at these new emerging technologies. It's all public information. It can be downloaded from our web site.
The European Union is leading in the development of wave energy and hydrokinetic devices. However, are some exciting things going on in the U.S. There is a great wave project going on in Hawaii. And there's a start-up project about to happen in Oregon. In addition to the hydrokinetic devices, you've all heard at one point or another about the RITE project, the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project, Verdant Power's installing turbines in the East River. There's also a new project that's about to be started in San Francisco Bay to tap the tidal currents there. And, as I mentioned earlier, there's also lots of exciting things that have gone on and are still going on in the conventional hydropower area. I mentioned the waterfront project, the advanced turbine that came out of the 10 year plus DOE program. Testing has demonstrated a 14 percent efficiency gain and a very high, 98 percent survival of fish. They estimate that they can replace all 10 of their units by 2012. And they'll all pay for themselves within five years. The Alden/Concepts NREC turbine, pilot scale testing has demonstrated a 93 to 100 percent survival for fish. The turbine was brought along, but was not deployed in any project. Currently EPRI is trying to maintain some momentum with the development of the Alden/Concepts NREC turbine and Brookfield Power has actually intentions of installing the turbine at some point in the near future. And, hopefully, we can get some good testing of that turbine. The Advanced Energy Water Initiative that embraces this entire package that I've been talking about is a public and private sector collaborative. And I want to stress it's a collaborative. It's just not an expectation of a handout from the federal government and the industry does have to step up and participate in this project. It includes the formation of what we call the Water Power Realization Committee. This committee would provide guidance and oversight to the program. It would have a water power performance initiative area, which would lead the RDD&D in the conventional hydropower area. And it would have also a separate area for water power technology development in the emerging technology area. And we're estimating that annual funding for this project would be about $38 million. And that is relatively a small amount of money compared to the amount of funding that goes into biomass research, solar research, and wind energy research.
Getting this done. You cannot expect a federal hand out to happen. Industry has got to demonstrate a partnership. They have to step up. They have to show an interest in this type of research. Some of the things I talked about, it might work, it might not work, but we'll never know unless we conduct the research and find out. We actually, in conducting research, we may find some questions we didn't even know to ask at this point in time. EPRI's perspective has been that hydropower has been a long term, key supplier of reliable, domestic, low-carbon power, in addition, a major provider of other ancillary services. We feel it's not a mature industry. We feel that wave and in-stream turbines are a new type of technology, low-carbon, low environmental impact, and can be a major contributor of domestic produced power. All of this information is contained in the EPRI report. It will be publicly available for download. Many of EPRI reports you have to give us your first born sometimes if you're not a member to get the report, but this one will be free. You can download it and it should be available by the end of the month. There are advance copies that are out at our table. Please stop by and I'll be glad to talk further about it. But everything that I've discussed is in this report. And with that I'll say thank you. I look forward to your comments on the report and I hope you find that the information is useful to the industry. Thank you.
David Youlen: Thank you Doug. I mean the key theme is hydropower is new again. I mean because if you look at all the new areas, ways we can make power from the power of moving water, it's pretty exciting times. The biggest fear I had a year ago was when we were on the Hill, you know, with the old pitch, we need more money for R&D. I was afraid somebody was going to ask me, what would you spend it on? And so this hopefully will address that. But the other thing that we constantly have heard, but we've made a lot of progress in the last year, is when you go to talk to people about what hydropower can do to help with issues like climate change and domestic energy supply, the common phrase is, "Hydropower is all built. There's nothing you can do to contribute." So we're trying to change that and this was one effort to try to accumulate that data. So thank you, thank you Doug. I'll start again, once again, good afternoon. Thank you very much for being here. We appreciate everybody joining us at this conference and this opening session.
As I prepared for today naturally I took a look at what I said at last year's NHA annual meeting. I reviewed the goals and objectives that I wanted to help the association achieve during my year in office. We had some very simple little last year words. It wasn't a real fancy slideshow. It was real simple, basic things like build and one little words that we had on the screen last year. And that's what I'll try to address, is how did we do this year? At least how I think we did. What was actually accomplished, I do believe, is quite exciting. But before I get into the specifics of what I feel we've accomplished, I think I have a few people that I need to show my appreciation or give thanks to. I want to say that the honor to act as president of this great association. I need to thank Linda and your talented staff, all of whom are experts in their own right. It's been a thrilling privilege to be on the frontlines of the hydropower industry, a profession that I have devoted my entire career to. I love this stuff. I mean its lots of fun and it gets exciting when you think about building new things. I've also been overwhelmed by the wonderful people that I've have the good fortune to encounter and to work closely with as NHA president. These individuals include fellow NHA board members, whose devotion to this industry and to this association is unparalleled. As well as lawmakers who are responsible for shaping our nation's energy policies and also the professionals involved in promoting other renewable energy options, which I'll talk some more about that later. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't thank my employer, Brookfield Power, for allowing me to travel the country and be in DC so many times in the last year on behalf of the NHA. I'm glad they see the value in my work as NHA president, and understand that what I learned on this past year will only help me be a better professional in my job. So I thank my employer, of which we have a considerable number of my colleagues in the audience, all of whom I noticed are in the back of the room. I didn't want you to think I didn't notice that.
But now we'll get back to the key objectives I outlined last year as a priority to tackle during my NHA presidency. I stressed last year, and will reiterate again, that in order for hydropower to be considered a legitimate energy option for the country we must make hydro new again by building hydropower projects, by expanding existing projects with incremental megawatt hours, and by the development and implementation of new hydropower technologies, such as ocean, tidal, and in-stream. Many of our members listened last year and have examined your portfolios to see how best to take advantage of the production tax credits under the Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005. Remember, those incentives are available now because of the strong and lengthy lobbying efforts of the NHA, so congratulations again. I mean, as an example, at Brookfield power we have - you know, its lots of hydroplants, smaller portfolio. We do have a multimillion dollar portfolio improvement plan is what we call it, currently underway. We will invest $30 million in 2007 to upgrade many of our hydroplants utilizing the PTC and other incentives. And we have even more investment planned for the future, which how long that goes depends on what types of incentives might be available as we go forward.
The enhancements that we are undertaking focus on equipment upgrades, generating unit additions, and other improvements at existing plants to increase efficiency and produce additional power. The initial group of 10 projects are now underway and they'll increase New York State's green energy by some 60,000 megawatts hours. Again, I mention that's a small plant portfolio. So for us 60,000 megawatts hours is pretty substantial. We anticipate completing these 10 projects by December 31, 2007, which was of course started with the first PTC-1, which was originally scheduled to end at this date. We do have many more opportunities after these that we anxiously expect to explore. Now, working closely with NHA's legislative affairs committee I'm proud to say that we did successfully reach the goal of extending the PTC eligibility deadline. Originally new generation required to be online by January 1, 2008, which was why we had those 10 projects to get done on PTC-1. The new date for the production tax credit has been pushed out a year to basically online by January 1, 2009. The desired extension indicates that legislators heard our pleas that additional time would enable us to license, get equipment and contractors in place, and would allow time for construction. We need to continue to push for an additional three to five year extension, which is actually what we have been promoting. Let's put it this way, the one-year Christmas gift we got, or holiday gift we got was very welcome. But, you know, when it takes you possibly three years to do a license and a couple of years to build, we still have a long ways go to get a longer extension.
The PTC extension was just one goal of NHA's legislative affairs committee chaired by Bill Leebreaux. I don't know if Bill is here or not, but he's our chair of our legislative committee. The same committee has devised an impressive plan for this coming year that will seek position hydropower so it is recognized as a preferred, clean, renewable and domestic source on Capitol Hill, within the administration, and in states that are contemplating climate change and other clean energy initiatives such as renewable portfolio standards. This bold legislative affairs plan relies heavily on other committees within NHA, such as regulatory, public affairs, and R&D. In fact, many of the efforts I will soon speak about are essential to achieving the association's broad legislative affairs goals. Another goal set for this past year was to rebrand hydro and make it new again. For instance, many NHA related tag lines now read "HYDROPOWER," in capital letters, "The power of moving water."
In addition, several NHA collateral materials recently were jazzed up with new graphics and more enticing visuals. We've had a lot of help from the public affairs committee, so they're jazzed up now. Thanks to the efforts of that committee we now have five generic hydropower fact sheets that can be downloaded from the association's Web sheet. I encourage all of you to use these valuable resources as a way to publicize hydropower every chance you get. Not only is this ideal for educating the general public, but it can also be used effectively to convey a simple and straightforward message about hydropower with lawmakers and other decision-makers. I have used them myself and I can tell you that these visually appealing documents, being an engineer, these are pretty nice. Better than an engineer would do on a report. But these visually appealing documents really are effective in driving home the point that hydropower is new, exciting and an excellent, another keyword, domestic resource. Along with the help of the public affairs committee NHA revised its previous awards program. And with some major changes came out with the first ever Outstanding Stewards of American Waters awards. The details regarding the award winners will be provided to you in a few moments by Julie Smith Galvin, who is the chair of NHA's public affairs committee. She's one of those jazzer-uppers that I talked about. Separately, but still part of our rebranding initiatives, NHA formed the New Technologies Council, headed by Mike Bahleda and Mike Murphy. Is either one in the audience? If so, stand up just so people can see who you are. But I guess not. Mike Murphy was here earlier. The council is charged with helping to spread the word about the various new hydropower technologies, such as ocean, tidal, and in-stream.
NHA incorporated these new technologies into our organization this year in order to represent all forms of hydropower. We're always looking for new members for this council, so I encourage you to seek out the two Mikes. If you would like to get involved it's a pretty active council and pretty exciting and it's grown tremendously just in the last six months or so that it's been in existence. But it's Mike Bahleda and Mike Murphy, from Divine Tarbell & Associates.
Now, when these new technologies are then coupled with conventional hydro-generation forms we effectively show the potential for hydropower and what a great climate change weapon this is. Along with it being a domestic energy source that is dearly needed for a nation that continues to struggle with its dependence on foreign energy imports. The final piece of our ongoing efforts is to reach out and work together with other renewable energy organizations that I had mentioned earlier. Again, I'm pleased to announce that much work has been done to integrate hydropower into other renewables, achieving recognition within the wind, solar, and geothermal industries just to name a few. Some of the first meetings we went to I was a little apprehensive, but now it's better to work as a group than hydropower to work on your own. So I think we've come a long ways, a lot with Linda's help, to become integrated into the other forms of renewable associations. I think we do now a considerable amount of work as a joint project between all of us. So I think that's been a good step forward. Over the past year NHA has enhanced our organization, staff and support. I expect the NHA organization to be even stronger than before. I'm going to ask each NHA staff member to stand when I call their name for those that are here. I ask the audience to hold applause until I'm done.
I'd like to at least introduce the staff for those that may not be familiar with the NHA staff. I'll start with Jeff Leahy, who's right back there. He's taken on increased responsibilities and a new title as senior manager, government and legal affairs. We also had recently joining the association our angel Brauna Well, angel's right here, as the communications manager. She's another jazzer-upper that we hired. I don't know if Ashley is here. We also had recently joining us Ashley Los Tillo. She's a communications specialist, which I don't see her. I also would be remiss if I didn't mention the superb work of Stephanie Knox. She's our association senior manager of finance and administration. So she's out working outside there. And, of course, Diane Lear, who I saw in here somewhere. Diane? She's our membership and marketing coordinator. She's the one that hounds you to become members and makes sure that you pay your dues and she's always looking for new members. So that's the person, if she comes running to you, you probably ought to start running the other way. No, actually Diane does a wonderful job. Thank you. And last, and of course not least, a big thanks to NHA's executive director, Linda Church Ciocci. Please join me in a round of applause in honor of these individuals great work.
Now, this is a sales pitch also. NHA has also begun to search to fill a brand new position, that of a technology manager. We hope to bring in an individual with a strong technical background in hydropower to work directly with the New Technologies Council I mentioned earlier, as well as the R&D and the hydraulic power committees. If anyone is interested or knows somebody that might fit this position please see Linda. We certainly would like to have some technical side to NHA, which I don't believe we've ever had before. And this will support the new technologies going forward. Remember, hydropower, new again.
Finally, NHA is instituting a college intern initiative. The individuals we hope to recruit for this program will provide much-needed additional help to the association while learning about hydropower. These same interns may eventually find themselves in government jobs where they might have influence on future hydro funding. You never know where they might end up and this is an attempt to get some people younger than us involved in hydropower. And hopefully you never know where they might end up working for, and least they'll have some knowledge of hydropower. We just thought this would be a good way to integrate some people that certainly will be up on the Hill eventually. Another objective during my presidency was to increase NHA's membership base. Again, I'm pleased to say that with Diane's help and others, that we were quite successful in adding 21 new member companies this past year. The great news is that they represent a more diversified membership from financial to new technology companies. Diane wants to make sure I say this here, let's not get complacent about membership though as there is always more recruitment that needs to be done. Right? Two quick things I want to say about R&D.
First of all, I was very disappointed to see that the Department of Energy's hydropower R&D program was zeroed out in the 2008 budget. NHA believes the lack of R&D funds ignores the increased energy potential from a resource that has many climate change benefits along with it being a domestic energy source. I urge you to use your time in Washington wisely, to call on your congressional representatives and tell them that hydropower R&D funding must be restored. You just heard about the EPRI roadmap. Once distributed this can be used as an educational tool to illustrate how much potential exists for hydropower in this country. And also to answer a question about what types of R&D funding would be beneficial to help achieve these goals. And primarily, as I mentioned earlier, when you'd go to the Hill, like a year ago, it was hydropower is all built. That's the common perception. So this roadmap, we hope it will be an effective tool to help rebuff the misconception that there's little hydropower that can be added in the U.S.
You know, use the document to show that hydropower is far from being tapped out. And that it truly is part of the solution, an integral part of the clean energy solution in this country. We do have new and comprehensive leave-behind packages that can be brought to the Hill when you go. Some people were at a session this morning on the Hill visits, and that package was shown. It's a pretty good package just to take home in case you have to go talk to somebody about hydropower. These packages can either be, you can either get them through Jeff Leahy or the registration desk to get a package. It's a nice little package. In conclusion, I'm proud to say that during my tenure as NHA President we accomplish many of the objectives set forth for myself and the association. Industry members are building. I know what we're doing and I know it's getting very hard to get equipment, so industry members are building and adding new incremental hydropower. Through NHA's legislative affairs efforts we've been able to extend and improve on the PTC deadline.
Rebranding hydropower has begun successfully, but there's still so much more that needs to be done. You know, if there's one thing I would like everyone to take away from this conference or say from this last year, is that hydro, capital letters POWER, the power of moving water is conventional hydro, pump storage, ocean, tidal, in-stream, whatever you want to call it, it's all forms of power generated from water. NHA speaks for hydropower in all of its forms. Thank you for allowing me to accomplish the objectives we did accomplish on behalf of NHA and it was probably the fastest year I ever had in my life, so thank you.
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