Medway Hydro

The Medway Hydroelectric Project is a run-of-river hydroelectric generating facility located on the West Branch of the Penobscot River in Medway, Maine with a gross nameplate generating capacity of 3.44 MW. The Medway Project commenced initial commercial operations in 1923. The Medway Project generates clean, renewable electricity while providing recreational opportunities (portage trail and boat launch), fish passage measures, consistent water levels that enhance habitats for waterfowl, etc., and substantial support of the local community through stable property tax payments, reliable voltage support of the electrical distribution system, etc.

Project Name Medway
LIHI Certificate Number 65
LIHI Effective and
Expiration Dates
June 1, 2015
June 1, 2020
Owner Black Bear Hydro Partners LLC
State Maine
Location Located on the West Branch of the Penobscot River in Medway, Maine.
Installed Capacity 3.44 MW (plus 0.7 MW with proposed additional unit)
Average Annual Generation 30,402 MWh (plus 3,855 MWh with proposed additional unit)
Facility Type Run-of-river
FERC No. 2666

The Medway Project consists of a 343-foot-long concrete gravity dam surmounted by flashboards, a 64-foot-long concrete gravity forebay wall, a 120-acre impoundment, a powerhouse containing five generating units with a total installed capacity of 3.44 MW, an approximate 144-foot-long underground transmission line, and appurtenant facilities.

The Medway hydroelectric project is a component of the Penobscot River Restoration Agreement. The overall intent of the Agreement is to provide enhancements to the Penobscot River’s environmental resources, and lower and minimize the influence of the Owner’s hydroelectric projects on those resources while maintaining the levels of renewable hydropower generation from the river. The restoration effort is one of the largest river restoration projects in our nation’s history. In an unprecedented collaboration, a diverse group of stakeholders are working together to restore 11 species of sea-run fish to the Penobscot River, while maintaining energy production.

On June 25, 2004, the Lower Penobscot River Basin Comprehensive Settlement Accord (“Lower Penobscot Agreement”) was signed.[1] The Agreement represented an unprecedented collaboration to restore 11 species of sea-run fish while rebalancing hydropower generated on the river.[2] An integral part of the energy balance associated with the Agreement included amending the license for the Medway Hydroelectric Project. In June 2004 an application was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) for the amendment and FERC issued the amendment on April 18, 2005 (111 FERC 62,063).

Pursuant to the Lower Penobscot Agreement, BBHP plans to add an additional 700 KW generating unit to the existing Medway Project Powerhouse. The Medway Project license was transferred to Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC by FERC order dated September 17, 2009 (128 FERC ¶62,212).

[1] Parties to the Lower Penobscot Agreement include Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC’s predecessor PPL Maine, LLC; the Penobscot Indian Nation (Penobscot); U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior); Maine State Planning Office, Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and Maine Department of Marine Resources (“Maine Agencies”); American Rivers, Inc., Atlantic Salmon Federation, Maine Audubon Society, Natural Resources Council of Maine, and Trout Unlimited; and the Penobscot River Restoration Trust (“Trust”).

[2] When complete, the project will help restore native fisheries by markedly improving access to nearly 1000 miles of significant habitat for Atlantic salmon, American shad, shortnose sturgeon and several other species of sea-run fish that once supported diverse economic opportunities as well as the biological health of the Penobscot River.

Certification History

August 5, 2016: LIHI Executive Director Michael J. Sale, using authority delegated from the LIHI Governing Board, has issued a Preliminary Certification Decision that the Medway Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. P-2666) satisfies the LIHI Certification Criteria.  This Preliminary Certification Decision includes one facility-specific condition, as follows:

Condition 1.  The Owner shall be proactive in contacting the MIFWS a minimum of 30 days prior to any planned drawdown of the impoundment that would expose a significant portion of the river bottom, to determine if any special measures are needed to avoid or minimize adverse impacts to state-threatened mussels that may be in the impoundment. The Owner shall work with the MIFWS to implement appropriate mitigation measures should they be needed.  The Owner shall advise LIHI of any such events, including the results of any activities conducted to minimize such impacts. Such notification shall be provided as part of the annual compliance statement to LIHI.

As provided for in Section 4.2.5 of the LIHI 2nd Edition, the Preliminary Certification Decision to certify, along with the Application Reviewer’s report and (if prepared) report of the Executive Director, will be posted on the Institute’s Web page for 30 days.  Notice of the posting will be provided to all individuals or organizations that commented on the initial Application Package.

Any Commenter may submit a letter to the Executive Director requesting an appeal within the 30-day period.  The appeal request must state specific reasons why the hydropower facility should have failed one or more criteria.  If an individual or organization did not comment on the initial Application Package, they may not file an appeal.  Further information about the LIHI appeal process is available in the LIHI Handbook, available at http://lowimpacthydro.org/certification-program-html/.

If no appeal is requested within the 30-day period, the Executive Director will issue LIHI Certification for the facility and post a notification of certification on the Institute’s website.  Once final, the effective certification date for the Medway Project is June 1, 2015 for a five (5) year term, which will expire on June 1, 2020.

December 11, 2015: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for a new term of Low Impact Certification for the Medway Hydroelectric project.  The application materials can be found in the Files section below.

The public comment period for this application closed on February 12, 2016.

June 19, 2015: The Medway Hydroelectric project has been granted an extension of the current certificate term. The new expiration date is December 31, 2015. See ExtensionLetter_2015Recert for explanation below.

January 28, 2011: The Medway Hydroelectric Project has been certified as low impact for a five year term, effective June 1, 2010 and expiring June 1, 2015.

August 2, 2010: Public comment period for the application for certification has been closed.

June 2, 2010: Black Bear Hydro Partners has submitted an application for certification of the Medway Hydroelectric Project. The public comment period on the application will remain open for 60 days.


Files: