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Hydro development has nearly limitless potential, HydroVision speakers say

Hydropower represents a vast renewable energy resource that has much potential to play a greater role in the renewable energy mix, said Duke Energy's Jim Turner, who delivered a keynote address during the opening keynote session of HydroVision International 2010 in Charlotte N.C.

Turner, president and chief operating officer of U.S. franchised electric and gas business for Charlotte-based Duke Energy, was among several speakers to address HydroVision attendees during the keynote event.

HydroVision International 2010 has 2,666 attendees representing 50 countries, breaking attendance records for the event. HydroVision International began July 27 and lasts through July 30. The event is being held at the Charlotte Convention Center. HydroVision 2010 features 278 exhibitors representing countries around the globe.

"Hydro is the original renewable energy source," Turner said, noting also that hydropower makes up 75 percent of renewable energy in the United States. 

Even though hydroelectric power is such a large source of renewable energy, the hydropower industry needs to work to make certain hydropower does not get overlooked in the renewable energy generation mix, Turner said.

"Hydro has gotten lost in the race toward solar, wind and other currently popular green energy sources," Turner said. "Yet, in fact, hydro represents a vast renewable energy resource that should not be ignored."

Turner noted that hydropower has much room to expand, both in new development of all kinds and in the form of adding hydro generation capabilities to existing dams that do not produce electricity. Turner cited figures that indicate that only three percent of the 79,000 dams in the United States generate hydropower.

Also speaking of the potential for hydropower in the renewable energy mix, National Hydropower Association President Andrew Munro cited recent developments, such as the signing of a federal MOU for hydropower, as examples of a building momentum for the energy source. 

"It's a new ball game," Munro said, adding that "We're on a new field, and hydropower is a leading player."

Another keynote speaker, International Hydropower Association President Dr. Refaat Abdel-Malek, noted that hydro developers must place sustainability among the top of their priorities. Advancing hydropower sustainability is an integral part of the IHA's mission, he said. 

Brad Carson, director of the National Energy Policy Institute, who also delivered an address during the keynote session, said hydropower has potential to play an important role in reducing harmful emissions, an issue that is at the forefront of energy production.

In addition, Carson said every U.S. state has potential for developing one form of hydropower or another.

"There is a very bright future for hydropower," he said.

Hydro Review, HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide and PennEnergy are flagship media sponsors of HydroVision International, which is owned and produced by PennWell.

This article was written by HydroWorld.com Online Editor Shaun Epperson

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