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CEO roundtable set to deliver hydro sector insights

One of the most exciting sessions scheduled for the forthcoming International Hydropower Association World Congress in Kuching, Malaysia, is the Chief Executive Officer roundtable in which the heads of some of the world’s most influential hydro companies explore the central theme of what is modern hydropower?

Taking place on the morning of the 23 May, this session will see CEOs share their experience and discuss their views on modern hydropower, their market expectations and their forecasts and insights.

Set to be moderated by David Appleyard, Chief Editor of HRW – Hydro Review Worldwide - among the confirmed speakers are Roy Adair, Chief Executive Officer of Hydro Tasmania.

With a recent strategic agreement with major Chinese energy company, Shenhua, Adair has valuable experience on a hot topic right now, the role of hydro as it relates to other forms of renewable energy. Indeed, in February this year the Shenhua Group acquired a 75% stake in the Musselroe Wind Farm, currently being built by Hydro Tasmania in north-east Tasmania and expected to be fully operational by July 2013.

Commenting on the deal, Adair said the strategic cooperation agreement will see the two businesses work to develop, build and operate a further 700 MW of wind farms in Australia by 2020, with a total estimated investment of A$1.6 billion.

Another confirmed panelist is Torstein Sjotveit, Chief Executive Officer, of Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) whose company is currently addressing another key issue affecting hydropower development, environmental impact. Just a few days ago SEB announced that it had signed a collaboration agreement with Sarawak Forestry Corporation Sdn Bhd for the Wildlife Monitoring and Rescue (WiMoR) operation designed for the conservation of the wildlife, flora and fauna within the Murum Hydroelectric Project area. Activities will focus on monitoring and rescuing animals, plants and fauna at various stages of the reservoir preparation and relocating them into pre-assessed suitable locations.

Murum dam is near completion (80% as at December 2012) with the first power scheduled to be dispatched in June 2014.
Offering a different perspective, Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, Chief Executive Officer of Norway’s Statkraft AS will be able to offer a look at the current market developments with his recent experiences. For example in March this year the company announced that it had acquired 100% of the 278 MW Devoll hydropower project in Albania after sealing a deal with Austria’s EVN AG. Tendering of the main construction contracts is currently ongoing, and the permit and approvals process is close to completion.

The Devoll project will increase the generation of electricity in Albania by 20%.

Statkraft is of course active in Asia too, and in January announced the completion of two new power plants, a new dam and a new power line in a project worth a total cost of about US$650 million in one of the world’s most active hydro markets, in the Laos People’s Democratic Republic.

Commenting on the deal Rynning-Tønnesen said: “The expansion project in Laos is a very good example of how we can exploit large, renewable hydropower resources in combination with sustainable solutions. With this new power plant, Norwegian hydropower expertise contributes to profitable, environmentally friendly and sustainable investments internationally”.

As if to illustrate the challenges faced by those running the world’s top hydro companies the new dam makes it possible to store large volumes of water from the rain period for power generation in dry periods but at the same time, the construction has caused some 13 000 people to be relocated or resettled in new villages established by the project.

Wolfgang Semper, Chairman of OEM manufacturer Andritz Hydro is also slated to appear on the panel. Expect keen observations from this hydro equipment giant which is active in pretty much every hydro market worldwide. For instance, last autumn Andritz Hydro revealed that it is also working in Laos, having won the contract to supply electromechanical equipment for the 1285 MW Xayaburi run-of-river hydropower station. Start-up is scheduled for the end of 2019.

The IHA World Congress is a biennial event that includes four days of interactive sessions and discussions designed not only to be informative, but also to test current strategies and stimulate future thinking. The event also features dozens of the world's top decision makers in hydro power.

For more information about this year's IHA World Congress, visit the event's website, IHACongress.org.


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