The Value Proposition of Hydro

By Kris Polly

Hydropower clearly has a major role to play in our energy future, but calculating the value of an existing or potential hydropower project can be complicated.

It requires a consideration of current and future energy prices and the costs of construction as well as an attempt to put a dollar figure on the many ancillary services hydro provides.

For Dan Parker, the owner of the consulting service 45north Renewable Energy, helping his clients to understand the potential value of hydropower facilities and to decide whether to buy or sell them is his daily work.
New federal funding, rising energy prices, renewable energy mandates, and the cost of relicensing have helped drive a recent surge in sales of hydro projects. In our cover interview, we hear more about the complicated analysis that goes into the valuation of hydro facilities.

AFRY is a major Sweden-based consulting engineering firm that provides expert advice and full-scope implementation services for the construction of hydropower and pumped storage projects all over the world. We speak with Project Manager Rolf Grunder about how the company calculates the value proposition of new hydro and pumped storage facilities and its role in bringing them to completion.

Fusion Babbitting is a Milwaukee-based manufacturer
of babbitt bearings for hydro, nuclear, and other facilities. Sales Manager Jeremy Kramschuster tells us more about the company’s products and services.

Next, we speak with Steve Johnson of the Southwestern Power Pool about how hydro and pumped storage can provide the grid with energy storage, inertia, flexibility, and ancillary capabilities.

Boualem Hadjerioua has an impressive career spanning
30 years in both the public and private sectors at institutions such as the Tennessee Valley Authority; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and his current employer, engineering firm Mesa Associates Inc. Mr. Hadjerioua tells us about how the insights of each sector can usefully inform the work of the other.

Finally, in our newest Half-Century Leaders feature, we interview Clyde Krout, who started in the hydro industry immediately after high school, learned everything there was to know about turbines and generators, and eventually started the business Hydro Consulting & Maintenance Services along with his wife.

There is no doubt that hydropower professionals across the country and the world are working on something very important, and because of that, it is important for the hydro industry to make the case for hydropower’s considerable benefits for a modern transmission grid, particularly
amid the ongoing phase-out of fossil generation and the integration of variable renewable generation, such as solar and wind. I think the stories in this month’s issue are excellent contributions toward demonstrating those benefits. I hope you find them enlightening. H

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