Lexington, Mass. (July 17, 2017) – On July 17, 2017, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) preliminarily approved Low Impact Certification for the New Home Dam project. The reviewer’s report is attached at the bottom of this page. This decision is preliminary pending the 30-day appeal window. Only those who commented in the initial application 60-day comment period are eligible to file an appeal. Such appeal needs to include an explanation as to how the project does not meet the LIHI criteria. Appeal requests can be submitted to comments@lowimpacthydro.org. Requests must be received by 5:00 pm EST August 17, 2017.

Harrington Park, New Jersey (May 5, 2017) – On April 28, 2017, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) received a complete application from the Mini-Watt Hydroelectric LLC for the Low Impact Certification of the New Home Dam project, FERC No. P-6096, located on the Millers River in the center of and predominantly commercial area of the Town of Orange, Franklin County, Massachustts, about 13.5 miles upstream of the confluence of the Millers and Connecticut Rivers.

River flow is generally east to west at the Project site. The first Dam at the site was in built in 1790 and was used for grist and saw mill. New Home Sewing Machines rebuilt the dam in 1877 and 1891. Chase Turbine moved to Orange in 1865 and occupied a small shop at in the New Home Sewing Machine Company Works. When ACOE prepared the Connecticut River Flood Control Profile in 1940, Chase Manufacturing was the owner of the Dam and therefore is recorded as such on the Profile plan. The State designed and built the current dam beginning in 1939. The site was redeveloped for the current use in the 1980’s by Mini-Watt Electric Company Inc. The facility was purchased by O’Connell Development Inc. in 1994 and has been operated by O’Connell since that time.

Project Name New Home Dam
Owner Mini-Watt Hydroelectric LLC
State Massachusetts
Location Located on the Millers River in the center of the Town of Orange, Franklin County, Massachusetts.
Installed Capacity 0.455 MW
Average Annual Generation 1,738 MWh
Facility Type Run-of-river
FERC No. P-6096

The New Home Dam has a FERC Exemption P-6096-MA issued 12/28/1984. The Project operates in Run of River Mode with a minimum flow of 152 cubic feet per second (CFS) or inflow be passed through the project at all times including 10 cfs flow to the bypass reach. The project dam is classified as a low hazard potential structure. The impoundment has a reservoir surface area of 106 acres and storage capacity of 530 acre-feet. The 1984 FERC Exemption for the project included the original (1940) North Riverbank Powerhouse with a 175 kW turbine/generator and the development of the 1984 South Riverbank Powerhouse with two (2) used 120 kW turbine/generators in the location of a previous mill building. An Amendment granted on 8/2/2010 to replace the T3 propeller turbine unit (located in the south powerhouse) with installed generator capacity of 120 kW with a new Kaplan unit with 160 kW capacity. Current Project installed capacity is 455 kW.

The New Home Dam Project consists of three (3) principal features. The general arrangements of these features have been in place since the original dam was constructed in the 1790’s. The most recent modifications to the features in the general arrangement are identified as follows: 1 – South Riverbank Power Structures including Intake Canal (with Marden Style emergency spillway (needle beam and stoplogs)) re-designed vintage 1940 (replaced 2016) and South Powerhouse re-designed and re-constructed vintage 1984 with Tailrace re-designed and re-constructed vintage 1984 in the location of the original mill building; 2 – 102.5 foot long Dam with Bascule Gates were designed vintage 1939 (refurbished 2016); 3 – North Riverbank Power Structures including Intake Canal, North Powerhouse and Tailrace were re-designed vintage 1940.

LIHI is seeking public comment on this application.  Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think the New Home Dam 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 comments@lowimpacthydro.org with “New Home Dam 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 July 11, 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.

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