American Whitewater Staff to Testify In Congress on Hydropower’s Future

posted March 14, 2017
by Kevin Colburn

article photo 2

American Whitewater’s Dave Steindorf will testify before a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives at 10 am on Wednesday, March 15th, on behalf of the Hydropower Reform Coalition. The hearing will explore the opportunities and challenges of expanding hydropower generation in the US. Dave has over 20 years of experience negotiating environmental and recreational improvements at existing hydropower dams on behalf of the paddling community. 

Dave’s testimony will highlight the fact that hydropower is a mature, built out energy source and is appropriately challenged by competition from younger energy sources like wind and solar that have ample room for growth. Last year alone more than 14 GW of new solar power and 8 GW of wind power was brought online in the United States, while the Department of Energy estimates new conventional hydropower potential over the next 34 years only totals 5.2 to 12.8 GW. Almost all of this potential new hydropower is accomplished through retrofitting existing dams - not building new dams. Hydropower will continue to serve an important role in our energy system for years to come, but its future is not one of significant growth.

Dave will also share his experience with relicensing the dams on California’s Feather River, where he successfully advocated for restored flows that have been a boon to fish, paddlers, and the local economy. His experience offers lessons in the incredible value of public participation, collaboration, good science, and the authorities of various state and federal agencies. These factors help produce good outcomes that bring public values back to long-dammed and diverted rivers like the Feather.

The hearing comes as Congress is exploring opportunities to tackle new infrastructure projects and proposals to ease regulations on large businesses like power companies. It is an excellent opportunity to tell stories from the field, about what is working and what isn’t as our government agencies set new licenses for dams that last 30 to 50 years. You can read Dave's testimony at your leisure, and watch the hearing at 1:15 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, March 15. GO DAVE!!

You can also help us amplify Dave's message by sending one of your own to your representatives in Congress. We have set up an online system that will make it quick and easy for you to do here.