The Newfound Hydroelectric project is located in downtown Bristol, New Hampshire approximately 800 feet downstream from the crossing of Water Street over the Newfound River. The area in the vicinity of the dam is urban in character and typical of an old New England manufacturing city. The project is located in the Merrimack River Basin approximately seven miles above the confluence of the Pemigewasset and the Winnipesaukee Rivers. The generally south flowing Merrimack River is New England’s fifth largest river. The basin is 134 miles in length and 68 miles wide. Total drainage area is 5015 square miles. The two principal headwater streams are the Pemigwasset River (accounting for 20% of the entire drainage) and the Winnipesaukee River. These streams join in Franklin, New Hampshire to form the Merrimack. The tributary with the second largest sub-basin is the Contoocook.

Project Name Newfound
LIHI Certificate Number 82
LIHI Effective and
Expiration Dates
May 13, 2011
May 13, 2016
(extended to June 30, 2017)
Owner Newfound Hydroelectric Corporation
State New Hampshire
Location Located on the Newfound River, 175 feet above its confluence with the Pemigewassat River in Bristol, New Hampshire.
Installed Capacity 1.5 MW
Average Annual Generation 5.749 GWh
Facility Type Run-of-river
FERC No. 3107

The land uses along the north side of the river to the east of the project’s diversion weir are predominantly industrial and to the west they are commercial. On the south side of the river the land usage to the east of the powerhouse is predominantly urban residential with commercial uses lying to the west. Along both banks above and below the dam the vegetation consists of planted ornamentals and those types typical of disturbed ground.

The facility is operated as a fully automated run of river project. At times of non-generation, the project is licensed to release an outflow equal to an instantaneous minimum of 5 cfs. When inflows fall below 5 cfs, inflow is equal to outflow. The licensee is responsible for maintaining a continuous minimum flow of 5 cubic feet per second or the inflow to the project’s diversion weir, whichever is less, for the protection and enhancement of aquatic resources in the river. The Newfound Project discharges into the Pemigewasset River, seven miles above its confluence with the Winnipesaukee River. Historical river flows in the Pemigewasset River within the project area are 151 cfs.

Construction of the Newfound hydroelectric project was completed in 1927. Project works consist of: (a) a diversion weir surmounted by wooden flashboards, totaling 10 feet in height; (b) a 0.23-acre reservoir with a storage capacity of 0.69 acre-feet; (c) a concrete intake channel; (d) a powerhouse containing two generating units (870 kW and 617 kW); a 6-foot diameter wooden penstock 420 feet long; (f) a 30-foot wide tailrace extending 175 feet to the confluence of the Newfound and Pemigewasset Rivers; (g) a 160-foot-long underground cable from the powerhouse to an existing pole of the power purchaser, Public Service Company of New Hampshire; and (h) appurtenant works.

On November 6, 1981 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a minor license to the Newfound Hydroelectric Company (Licensee) of Bristol, New Hampshire, under part I of the Federal Power Act, for a period of fifty years (FERC 3107, see Appendix 1-1). The project works consist of: (1) a diversion weir located adjacent to New Hampshire Route 3A in Bristol, New Hampshire; (2) a new 800-footlong water conveyance facility, leading to (3) a new powerhouse located approximately 800 feet downstream of the Water St. Bridge; and (4) appurtenant works. The installed capacity of the project is 1,500 kW.

Certification History

December 16, 2016: The Newfound Hydroelectric Project has been granted a third extension of the current certificate term. The new expiration date is June 30, 2017. See extension letter for explanation below.

The Newfound comment period has been extended to February 10, 2017.

December 8, 2016: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for a new term of Low Impact Certification for the Newfound Hydroelectric project. The application materials can be found in the Files section below.

LIHI is seeking public comment on this application.  Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think the Newfound project meets the LIHI Low Impact Certification Criteria, as revised in the 2nd Edition Handbook released in March 2016.  Please review the program and criteria in LIHI’s revised Handbook and then review the Project’s 2016 application materials posted on the project page.

Comments that are directly tied to specific LIHI criteria (flows, water quality, fish passage, etc.) will be most helpful, but all comments will be considered.  Comments may be submitted to the Institute by e-mail at with “Newfound Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, PO Box 194, Harrington Park, New Jersey 07640.  Comments must be received at the Institute on or before 5 pm Eastern time on February 8, 2017 to be considered.  All comments will be posted to the web site and the applicant will have an opportunity to respond.  Any response will also be posted.

September 20, 2016: The Newfound Hydroelectric project has been granted an additional extension of the current certificate term. The new expiration date is December 31, 2016. See below for extension letter.

March 18, 2016: The Newfound Hydroelectric project has been granted an extension of the current certificate term. The new expiration date is October 13, 2016. See below for extension letter.

November 17, 2011: The Newfound Hydroelectric Project has been certified as low impact for a five year term, effective May 13, 2011 and expiring May 13, 2016.

May 16, 2011: Newfound Hydroelectric Company has submitted an application for the certification of its Newfound Hydroelectric Project. Public comment period on the application will remain open for 60 days.


2016 Re-certification

2011 Certification