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CEPM to Present “Clean Hydropower from the Three Rivers” Webinar

The Washington & Jefferson College Center for Energy Policy and Management will host a free Sept. 27 webinar on hydropower as part of its Energy Lecture Series.

“Clean Hydropower from the Three Rivers” will be the subject of a free, hour-long webinar at 11 a.m. Sept. 27. It will be presented by Michael Rooney, vice president of project management for Rye Development, a leading developer of new low-impact hydropower energy generation and energy storage in the United States.

Hydropower is one of the oldest and largest sources of renewable energy, which uses the natural flow of moving water to spin propeller-style blades that then spin a generator, creating electricity. Hydropower currently accounts for 28.7% of total U.S. renewable electricity generation and about 6.2% of total U.S. electricity generation.

Rye Development, a Florida-based developer of hydropower projects, has plans to modernize existing dams along the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio rivers that are used for navigation to add power-generating capabilities, with the clean power then sold to customers that include Allegheny County, the University of Pittsburgh, and most recently a leading national data-storage company. It plans to invest nearly $1 billion in the region over the next decade for a total of 10 projects.

Hydropower is an around-the-clock, carbon-free, renewable energy source, and it qualifies for renewable energy tax credits.

Rye Development also has several closed-loop pumped storage projects in other areas of the country. Closed loop pump storage relies on the construction of two reservoirs - a lower one and an elevated one - that recirculate water. Water is pumped into the upper reservoir using renewable energy when wind and solar systems are producing more electricity than is needed, and then released into the lower reservoir through a generator to provide electricity during times of peak demand.

Rooney will explain the concepts of hydropower and pumped storage and provide details of the company’s plans to deploy hydropower in this region. Rooney has a successful track record of stakeholder engagement, public policy analysis, and project management. Before joining Rye as vice president of project management, Rooney spent ten years in the nonprofit and higher education sectors, focusing on issues ranging from international development to environmental education. Most recently, he managed a diverse grant-making portfolio for the Hillman Family Foundations which included leading the foundation’s energy and environment grant portfolio. Michael holds a Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

The webinar is free and open to the public. To register, visit or click here! The seminar is approved for Continuing Legal Education in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. Contact the Washington County Bar Association at for information.

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