Hydropower conference set for Spokane next week

SATURDAY, JULY 25, 2009, 2 A.M.

About 1,500 workers will meet in Spokane next week

About 1,500 employees of the hydropower industry will gather in Spokane next week for a conference discussing new technology and the impact of climate change on dams.

The Waterpower XVI conference is hosted by PennWell Corp., an Oklahoma firm that publishes “Hydro Review” and other industry magazines and newsletters. The conference takes place Monday through Thursday at the Spokane Convention Center.

A micro-turbine paddle that can be dropped into small streams or irrigation canals is one of the innovations featured at the conference. The paddle, developed by Seattle start-up firm Hydrovolts, can generate enough electricity for one to three homes. Company officials said they can manufacture the paddles for $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the size.

Researchers will also talk about acoustic tags used for tracking salmon progress through dams on the Columbia River. That research is occurring at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest Engineering Laboratory in Richland.

For more information on the conference, visit

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