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Ciocci: Hydropower's future strong, industry vital to America's energy policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. 4/17/12 (PennWell) -- Despite the uncertainty of election year politics and several hydropower-related measures currently under consideration by the U.S. Congress, the future of hydroelectricity is bright, according to National Hydropower Association Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci.

Ciocci, speaking in the opening session of the NHA's 2012 Annual Conference being held this week in Washington, D.C., assured the more than 500 industry representatives assembled Monday that hydroelectricity will be a key component in America's power production strategy.

"Despite all of this uncertainty and the indecision that often comes with election year politics, there is one bright and certain light," Ciocci said. "Hydropower has a tremendous future. It is the foundation on which our clean energy future rests."

Hydropower's reliability, cleanliness, flexibility and availability are all factors cited by Ciocci as factors advantageous to the industry's growth, and even though unanswered questions regarding tax credits, emission standards, permitting processes and infrastructure development still loom, Ciocci said she is confident the hydroelectric sector will remain strong.

"We as a nation continue to work toward an energy future that is cleaner, relies more on renewable energy, and on transmission access and electricity storage," Ciocci said. "It is a future that values flexible and reliable generation -- one where growth is abundant around the country. Most importantly, it is a future that is based on infrastructure, job creation and economic rebound.

"We, the hydro industry, have all of that in spades."

The domestic hydroelectric industry is currently 300,000 employees strong, Ciocci said, with the potential for another 1.4 million jobs.

"We support a whole network of businesses," Ciocci said. "Large and small, mom and pop, corporate, national, regional and local, spread across this nation."

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