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Tradeshow + Conference: October 20-22 | Georgia World Congress Center | Atlanta, GA


Plenary Sessions

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What’s in Store for Attendees

Each morning at Clean Currents 2021, all attendees will begin their day by participating in a powerful plenary session as listed below.

These daily kick-off sessions, held in the Sidney J. Marcus Auditorium in the Georgia World Congress Center, promise to be enlightening, entertaining, and full of energy.

The 1,500-plus-seat auditorium is equipped with state-of-the-art audio and visual systems to ensure an impactful experience. Clean Currents 2021 speakers and presenters will stand on the same stage as comedians Joe Rogan and Marlon Wayans, and President George W. Bush who participated in a “fireside chat” much like the “chats” Clean Currents will feature.

The auditorium is named after the influential Atlanta politician Sidney J. Marcus, who has been described as someone with the “unique ability to bring people together… and cause things to happen.”

The lineup of participants in the Clean Currents plenary sessions will take inspiration from Marcus as it is comprised of dynamic individuals who bring people together and cause things to happen for waterpower.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

9 AM – 10 AM, Day 1 Plenary Session

Theme: Innovation and Technology Advances

Georgia Power LockupClean Currents kicks off with a Welcome from Georgia Power, the host utility of the event.

Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the United States’ leading energy providers. Georgia Power serves more than 2.5 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers.

The utility owns and operates 14,363 MW of power capacity; its portfolio mix is diverse – gas/oil, nuclear, coal, hydro, and other renewables. Of the total, hydro contributes about 1,100 MW.

While hydropower is only 3% of the utility’s energy mix, it’s an important contributor. For example, the reservoirs associated with the hydro facilities lead to Georgia Power being the largest non-governmental provider of recreational facilities in the state of Georgia. The flexibility of its hydro assets also enables the utility to add significant amounts of solar to its energy mix.

Next on the agenda is:

Panel Discussion – Innovation and Technology Advances: Why It Matters for Waterpower

Innovation and technology advances are critical across the entire electric power sector as we rapidly transform to a clean energy system. It’s no different for waterpower. In every project—whether it’s new construction or refurbishment of an existing facility—significant innovation is being considered and/or applied.

As the energy sector transforms, innovation and application of new, advanced technologies are key to ensuring waterpower remains relevant and grows.


malcolm woolf

Malcolm Woolf

President and CEO, National Hydropower Association



Dr. Danielle Merfeld

Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, GE Renewable Energy


Kelly Speakes-Backman

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), and Acting Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy (invited)

Panelists share their insights and viewpoints about why innovation matters.

  • What are the challenges faced by bringing more renewable energy onto the grid?
  • How can the application of technology in the waterpower sector help to meet those challenges?
  • Why innovation and technology advances are critical to:
    • Solving electricity markets design and compensation challenges
    • Dealing with effects of climate change
    • Efficiently using water for multiple purposes
    • Driving down costs of design, construction, and modernization
    • Improving competitiveness
  • How to solve the challenges of “in the field” testing of innovations and new technology

Recommended reading in preparation for Clean Currents: Industry Leaders Share Insight about Innovation and Its Importance to the Future of Waterpower

Thursday, October 21, 2021

9 AM – 10 AM, Day 2 Plenary Session

Theme: Leadership: Waterpower and Clean Energy, Infrastructure, and Jobs

Today, waterpower stands at the nexus of discussions about clean energy, infrastructure improvements, and job growth.

Day 2 of Clean Currents highlights individuals and organizations leading the way to ensure waterpower has a voice in today’s vital discussions regarding clean energy, infrastructure, and jobs.

The session includes:

  • “From the Corner Office” panel discussion among executives representing hydro project asset owners, developers, consultants, and original equipment manufacturers – sharing the opportunities they see for waterpower going forward and the challenges that “keep them up at night.”
  • Recognition of the industry’s Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters
  • Unveiling of the 2021 recipient of the industry’s highest honor, recognizing an individual for his or her:
    • Dedication to waterpower as an energy technology
    • Persistence in the face of institutional obstacles
    • Appreciation and understanding of the relationships among project engineering, environment and economics
    • A strong commitment for fair dealing and plain speaking
    • Uncommon energy, enthusiasm, and excitement as a leading force in the industry.

During this fast-paced session, you’ll meet and hear from industry leaders, including:


Jay Anders

Chief operating officer of Rye Development, and chair of the National Hydropower Association’s board of directors.

Rye Development is a leading developer of new low impact hydropowered energy generation and energy storage in the United States. Rye is committed to the responsible development of untapped hydropower resources while maintaining rivers’ balance of environmental and commercial requirements. Rye brings communities around the country substantial infrastructure, job creation, and a local source of renewable, non-consumptive energy.


Stanley Kocon

Chief executive officer of Voith Hydro Inc., and co-chair of the National Hydropower Association’s CEO Council

Voith Hydro in the US is a full-line supplier of hydropower equipment and services including project planning and execution, manufacturing, electrical and mechanical engineering, outage management, modernization, and aftermarket business and services. Voith traces its North American manufacturing lineage back to 1877, when Stephen Morgan Smith began designing and producing hydraulic turbines. Leaders of organizations whose work exemplifies excellence and leadership in project operations, public education, and environmental, recreational or historical enhancements

Friday, October 22, 2021

9 AM – 10 AM, Day 3 Plenary Session

Theme: Investing in Waterpower

Opportunities abound for the waterpower industry as we look to a carbon-free future. The technology stands as a significant force multiplier in the quest to fully integrate renewables into a clean energy grid in a reliable and resilient manner. Yet, to fully realize its potential, waterpower needs an infusion of investment. Historically, hydro is under-represented in the portfolios of institutional investors. Why is that? What can be done about it? What are innovative ways being explored to provide financing to the sector?

In this session, hear from financial experts who are on the front line, working to find ways to make investments in all sectors of waterpower.

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For the Industry.

By the Industry.


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