Hydropower’s Role in the Energy Market

HRC or member-contributed


River Management Society, Hydropower Reform Coalition, National Park Service



Presentations and trainingsPublished   3/21/2024

Hydropower is but one component in our complex and constantly changing energy picture. Explore the multi-faceted role of hydropower’s position in the energy market and industry marketing strategies. Additionally, given the complex interrelationships of energy sources, their systems of production and distribution, and the rapidly changing viability of traditional vs. new technologies, the discussion will be one of a continuum extending beyond the surface.

Participants will:

  • Understand hydropower’s role in the broader energy market and how it is marketed to customers.
  • Identify how to analyze the costs of proposed new protection, mitigation, and enhancement measures on power generation and profitability of the project.
  • Assess hydro’s relative value, economic viability, and future profitability as a contributor to the grid when compared to other forms of generation
  • Explore the concept of greenwashing in the context of hydropower.

This webinar will explore concepts outlined in the Hydropower Licensing 101 Toolkit, specifically in the following areas: “Facility Types: Operations and Economics.”

This session also aligns with the following core competencies identified in the document “Technical Core Competencies: River Management Specialists and Non-Specialists”: Other Relevant Laws, Policies and Tools for River Management, River Management Planning.


Dave Steindorf (American Whitewater) has been an active river advocate in California since 1997. As a Stewardship Director for American Whitewater, Dave has gained a reputation as a consensus builder. He has been able to gain the respect of Agencies, NGO’’s, and Utilities while successfully achieving the goals of his constituents. As the primary negotiator for American Whitewater in California, Dave has negotiated improved flows on more than twenty hydroelectric projects in California. These agreements have restored rivers, while providing reliable power to the grid and protecting water supply. Additionally, Dave was the Chair of the California Hydropower Reform Coalition from 2007 to 2021. This coalition, which includes state and national NGOs, work on relicensing and energy policy that helps to make hydropower green. With a background in Economics, Dave has been keenly interested in the changing energy landscape. In 2017 Dave was invited to testify before the House of Representative’s Energy and Commerce Committee to educate members on the role of hydropower in energy markets and how to optimize power generation in a way that has the least impact on rivers.

Kevin Lewis (National Park Service) has been involved with hydropower licensing since the mid 1990’s. Kevin started as a volunteer with his local whitewater paddling club, then in 2004 Kevin joined Idaho Rivers United as the organization’s Conservation Director. During his tenure with IRU, Kevin worked on a number of relicensing projects as well as representing IRU on the steering committee of the Hydropower Reform Coalition. Kevin retired at the end of 2019 and is now assisting the National Park Service’s hydropower program.

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