By Kris Polly 

The hydropower industry works on an epic scale. It tames the elemental forces of land and water to turn mountains, valleys, and lakes into power generators. From the Hoover Dam to Grand Coulee, the immenseearly- 20th-century hydroelectric dams that still power the West are familiar images. But hydropower goes beyond vast lakes and New Deal–era monuments. Hydropower is modern, flexible, and environmentally friendly. It produces carbon-neutral energy and, through pumped storage facilities, also aids in integrating wind and solar power into the energy grid. Hydropower generators of various sizes and head requirements allow users to take advantage of natural and artificial waterways and bodies of all kinds. For all these reasons, Water Strategies is launching its newest magazine, Hydro Leader. 

I think you will agree that our first set of interviewees is impressive. Our inaugural cover story features Darvin Fales of Columbia Basin Hydropower, who speaks with us about the planned Banks Lake Pumped Storage Project, which will use two existing lakes, including the one behind Grand Coulee Dam, to create a liquid battery with a potential capacity as high as 1,000 megawatts. We also speak with Kelly Larimer of Kleinschmidt Associates, which is serving as the owners’ engineer for and leading the regulatory and environmental studies components of the Banks Lake project. 

The rest of our stories are no less impressive. Rick Miller goes into detail about HDR’s major hydropower practice. Jeanne Hilsinger tells us about the capabilities of Czech turbine manufacturer Mavel. Matt Foster speaks with us about construction firm Garney’s impressive penstock projects, including one in which it winched an excavator down the face of a mountain to dig a trench (and to prove it, we include pictures). Dr. Klaus Krüger of Voith Hydro about his research into the respective costs of pumped storage and battery storage installations 

In our Business Leader section, Paul Meeks of Worthington Products tells us about his exciting personal history with the hydropower industry and explains why his company is much more than its most famous product, the molded plastic TUFFBOOM barrier. In The Innovators, Juliann Blanford introduces NuSTREEM, which builds modular low-head small hydro machines. Finally, we feature a Hydro Law update on hydropower regulation from our friends at law firm Troutman Sanders. 

We have much more to share in the coming months. The hydropower industry is dynamic and impressive, and we could not be more excited about launching a new magazine to tell its stories. Welcome to Hydro Leader! 

Kris Polly is the editor-in-chief of Hydro Leader magazine and the president and CEO of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He may be contacted at