Voith Hydro North America recently hosted the Voith Hydro Training Workshop, an instructional event for hydropower owners and operators, featuring National Hydropower Association President and CEO Malcolm Woolf as keynote speaker.
The workshop focused on the latest information and findings in hydropower digitalization and automation. During his keynote speech Woolf urged the attending professionals to promote reliably produced hydropower and raise its awareness as it competes against other, less-mature forms of renewable energy production.
“Hydropower continues to work as the foundation of our electrical grid, yet it gets very little support in regard to taxes and grants,” Woolf said when comparing it to solar and wind. “Because we are an older, more mature industry, we don’t get the credit we deserve for doing our job so well.”
Woolf pointed out how easy it is for the public to forget that hydropower is working for them every day. He recommended that hydropower facilities around the country invite their local leaders and US congressional delegations for site tours every few years in a bid to keep hydropower at the forefront of their minds as they craft policies that might affect the future of the industry.
“We need to remind everyone what it takes to generate power and how beneficial it is. This creates an opportunity to teach them and the public about clean, renewable hydropower,” Woolf said.
The workshop took place over three days in York, Pennsylvania, the location of Voith Hydro North America’s headquarters. It featured numerous training sessions led by Voith Hydro and Voith Digital Ventures experts. More than 70 attendees joined Voith’s team for the event, and those visitors were also invited to tour Voith’s manufacturing facility and hydraulic test lab in West Manchester Township. A site tour of Muddy Run Pumped Storage Facility in nearby Drumore Township, Pennsylvania, was also part of the workshop. The Muddy Run tour came about through the generosity of Exelon, which made their site available as an added benefit to workshop attendees.
“As a training event, our goal was to educate hydropower owners and operators on the most up-to-date technology available to them,” said Inna Kremza, Principal Engineer, Customer Training Manager, Voith Hydro North America, who also organized the workshop. “Through numerous case studies and trend reports, we used the workshop to share the experiences and findings we’ve collected with the support of our customers.”
Sessions included generator design, maintenance, modernization and rehabilitation; turbine design, rehabilitation and modernization; digital solutions for hydropower; controls and network segmentation; safety by design; governor, exciter and protection for hydro plants; and case studies through Voith’s HyService and field work case studies. Through the workshop, networking opportunities were abundant, allowing attendees to interact with one another as well as Voith’s experts. Also available at the workshop was an augmented reality (AR) demonstration which showed how hydropower operators can use latest technology to assist with maintenance and regular operations.
“This was intentionally a broad experience for our visitors,” said Voith’s Carl Atkinson, Director of Business Development. “We wanted them to walk away with a vision for their facility and how its performance and reliability could improve if it were equipped with the latest digitalization and automation. Voith’s goal is to help these facility owners and operators reach their production goals, and the modernization techniques and processes we talked about at the workshop can help them do it.”
“The tours helped set the workshop apart from other training sessions,” sad Atkinson. “Getting people out of a classroom setting was a goal. Our visitors got to see real-life projects underway in our shop and the technology used at Muddy Run, and that helped make this workshop a success.”
Stanley Kocon, President & CEO of Voith Hydro North America, also noted the success of the workshop and how pleased the team was to welcome Malcolm Woolf to the event.
“Hydropower is a critical and strategic element of the North American electricity infrastructure, and efforts to improve its capabilities only make it that much more valuable. That’s our goal at Voith – to drive hydropower in the United States to the next level – and events like the Voith Hydro Workshop do just that,” Kocon said.
John Seifarth, Senior Vice President and COO, Voith Hydro North America, provided a shop tour to Malcolm Woolf, National Hydropower Association President and CEO, at Voith’s York, Pennsylvania, manufacturing facility. The tour took place after Woolf’s keynote address at the Voith Hydro Training Workshop.
Voith Hydro Training Workshop attendees had multiple opportunities to tour Voith’s York, Pennsylvania, manufacturing facility.