The US Hydropower Council for International Development was formed to promote the interests of the US hydro power industry internationally. It is an affiliate organisation of the national-hydropower-association, and a member of the US Export Council for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.

As energy markets around the world continue to privatise, the US Hydropower Council strives to support the creation of a competitive global energy market. The Council works to bolster US government and industry goals in the pursuit of overall global climate change and sustainable development, through the promotion of renewable hydro power energy resources. Energy efficiency goals are also developed through upgrading and the refurbishment of existing hydro power facilities. In these efforts, the Council works with several US agencies and organisations including; the US Agency for International Development, US Departments of Energy, State, and Commerce, multilateral and bilateral development banks, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Council’s membership includes a broad base of US companies, including investor-owned utilities and private power producers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and consultants including those with engineering, design, and legal expertise. The Council provides its membership with regular communications and a chance to participate in industry events such as conferences, trade missions, policy initiatives, and emerging market opportunities. To date, key countries for these events have included Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, and Nicaragua.

During the course of 1998, the Council has co-ordinated industry trade missions to Brazil and Ecuador. Activities included meetings with energy policy makers in these emerging hydro power markets, and an opportunity to discuss potential project partnerships with companies in the host countries (see table). The Council will also host an international delegation to attend the upcoming Hydrovision’98 Conference in Reno, Nevada on 27-31 July, and has organised a one-day workshop on 27 July to discuss international hydro power issues.

The US Hydropower Council is a member-run council. Through a six-member Advisory Board of Directors, US industry leaders provide input on global hydro power development strategies and direct the Council’s activities in support of that development. Donald H Clarke serves as the Council’s part-time executive director. A partner in the Washington, DC law firm of Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer & Quinn, he brings 15 years of experience in energy regulation and policy at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Debby Stone serves as director of trade promotion, and has been working with the US hydro power industry for several years to develop its business interests in the international market.

The Council co-ordinates seminars and educational events with the international finance community, including multilateral banks, commercial banks, and investment funds. These events serve to educate financiers on industry-specific attributes in the international market, and also offers an opportunity for industry members to become more familiar with the financial institutions and programmes. Earlier this year, the Council co-operated with the World Bank in providing a small hydro power briefing on hydro power finance and technology for the Bank’s staff and interested parties.

The US Hydro Council serves as a point of contact for the US hydro power industry to foreign energy decision-makers and project promoters. US companies, as well as foreign leaders in both the private and public sector, frequently call on the Council’s expertise on policy reform, joint venture partnerships and financial packaging for hydro power projects.

Activities of the US Hydropower Council

The US Hydropower Council and its delegation travelled to Ecuador at the request of the Ecuadorian Government in April 1998. Ecuador requested the Council’s help in an effort to receive private sector feedback on emerging energy regulation, and to bolster investment interest in hydro power projects.
Participants conducted three days of meetings, which involved all the relevant agencies concerned with energy project development. Strategic meetings were conducted with policy-makers to discuss potential private sector market barriers, and finance obstacles.

The US Hydropower Council will be working with the Government of Brazil to form a public/private sector partnership to promote investment in Brazil’s hydro power sector. This investment will be aimed at privatisation of existing generation facilities, upgrading and the rehabilitation of plants, as well as the development of greenfield projects.
The US industry partnership will provide communication on policies which encourage US investment. Key energy decision-makers from Eletrobras, BNDES and the Brazilian Congress will attend the Council workshop at Hydrovision ‘98 to discuss these topics. The US Hydropower Council plans an industry visit to Brazil later this year.

Hydrovision ‘98
Goals of the Council’s workshop in Reno in July are:
•To provide a public/private sector forum to address the resolution of foreign market barriers to hydro power investment.
•To promote a dialogue to educate participants on advancements in hydro power development and technology.