The National Hydropower Association has recognized six companies through its Outstanding Stewards of America's Waters awards program for positive contributions attributed to their hydroelectric projects.
Honored by NHA during its annual conference in Washington, D.C., were the Grant County Public Utilities District, Tacoma Power, Portland General Electric, Kaukauna Utilities, Northwest RiverPartners and Georgia Power.
"NHA established the OSAW awards as a way to encourage the industry to go above and beyond," NHA executive director Linda Church Ciocci said. "This year's winner's certainly did not disappoint."
Since its inception, the awards have recognized companies for developing projects that provide "extraordinary operational, recreational, historical, environmental or educational value".
Honored in the category of Operational Excellence were:
- Grant County PUD, for finalizing designs of a new state-of-the-art advanced turbine for the Wanapum Dam in 2003. After receiving Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval, the utility has worked for more than a decade to install 10 new units. Results of the new design demonstrate increased power generation and fish passage.
- Tacoma Power, for combining a new powerhouse and innovative fish collection system on an existing dam. Migrating fish are attracted into a collector with water discharged from two turbines.
Honored for Recreational, Environmental and Historical Enhancement:
- Georgia Power, for its Rock Hawk Effigy and Trails program that provides educational and recreational activities for more than 70,000 visitors annually. The pilot program includes an outdoor museum showcasing local history, nature trails, and diverse wildlife and habitat.
Honored in the category of Public Education:
- Portland General Electric, for an innovative outreach project designed to foster public appreciation for the region's hydroelectric power. Conducted in collaboration with the Estacada Area Arts Commission, 30 local artists used PGE's North Fork Dam as inspiration for works of fine art.
- Northwest RiverPartners, for its CleanHydro campaign. The public education program included visually compelling television and print ads, a website and more. The campaign reached more than seven million in the northwest, with polls showing increased public support for hydropower.
- Kaukauna Utilities, for its partnership with the Park Community Charter School (PCCS) and 1000 Islands Environmental Center in implementing the National Energy Education Development (NEED) curriculum. The program educates the public on energy efficiency and conservation.
"Each of these projects shows a commitment to the awardee's community and ecosystem that is worthy of recognition and is indicative of the dedication to good water stewardship that the industry at-large continues to demonstrate," Ciocci said.
More information about past OSAW Award winners can be found at the National Hydropower Association's website.