LIHI Certificate #115 – Glendale Project, Massachusetts

March 24, 2020 – COVID-19 Update: Gravity Renewables Inc. has notified FERC of the decision to close recreational facilities to protect staff and ensure resources are directed toward critical infrastructure needs and to increase security around the Glendale plant.

The Glendale Project is located on the Housatonic River in the town of Stockbridge, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. The dam and powerhouse were built in 1906. The Housatonic River has a total drainage area of 1,948 square miles, flowing from its headwaters near the City of Pittsfield, southward for approximately 150 miles through western Massachusetts and Connecticut before emptying into Long Island Sound between Stratford and Milford Connecticut. The project is the seventh dam on the river upstream from its mouth at Long Island Sound.

The project includes a 250-foot-long, 30-foot-high concrete gravity dam with a 182-foot-long spillway and a gatehouse containing two manually-operated 10 by 10-foot canal intake gates and a waste gate slot equipped with two 8 by 8-foot waste gates. A new vertical Francis turbine generating unit is located in the gatehouse and has an installed capacity of 0.165 MW. It is used to generate power from passing the project’s required minimum flow. The intake is equipped with trashracks with 1-inch clear spacing. A 1,500-foot-long, 40-foot-wide intake canal conveys water to a forebay structure equipped with trashracks having 1-inch clear bar spacing, and one hydraulically-operated canal waste gate. A 250-foot-long, 12-foot-diameter steel penstock conveys water from the canal to the main powerhouse containing four vertical semi-Kaplan (fixed blade) turbine generating units having a total installed capacity of 1.14 MW. The tailrace channel is 300-feet long and the canal creates a 2,500 foot long bypass reach between the dam and the tailrace.

The project operates in run-of-river mode and impounds a 23-acre reservoir. The project has a minimum flow requirement of 90 cfs (or inflow if less) directed into the bypass reach for the protection and enhancement of fish and aquatic life habitat. The flow regime was developed in consultation with FERC and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The project utilizes a Programmable Logic Controller to ensure run-of-river operations.

Project Name Glendale
LIHI Certificate No. 115
LIHI Certificate Term

April 1, 2019 - Mach 31, 2024

Owner Hitchcock Hydro, LLC
State Massachusetts
Location Located at river mile 122 on the Housatonic River in the town of Stockbridge, Berkshire County, MA.
Installed Capacity 1.14 MW
Average Annual Generation 5,000 MWH
Facility Type Run-of-river
FERC No. P-2801 issued 2009, expires 2049

Waters within the project reach are designated Class B and impaired due to zebra mussel presence, excess algal growth, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) in fish tissue and sediment, and total phosphorus. A superfund site in Pittsfield, MA is responsible for the PCB impairment. The project’s Invasive Species Monitoring and Control Plan requires bi-annual reporting on presence of invasive species and control and removal efforts. The report is submitted to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Run-of-river operation and continuous minimum flow have effectively eliminated any project impact on water quality.

Downstream dams create a barrier to upstream passage. No migratory fish species have been identified in the project area. Trashracks with 1-inch clear spacing and an approach velocity of no more that 2 feet per second mitigate entrainment.

The project property consists of roughly 12 acres. There are no lands of significant ecological value in the project area. The shoreline varies from low wetland area to steep, sloped banks. Residential development, roads, and railroad confine the vegetated riparian area. An Invasive Species Control Plan is required to control and monitor invasive plant species and high densities of zebra mussels in the project area.

Threatened and endangered species potentially present in the project vicinity include: Northern long-eared bat, dwarf scouring-rush, longnose sucker, skillet clubtail, and the creeper mussel.

The project does not have any plans for tree cutting or activities impacting habitat for Northern long-eared bat populations. Any vegetation management in the impoundment or bypass reach may require a rare plant protection plan preceded by a rare plant survey. Consultation with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program provided four conditions that must be met in order to avoid prohibited take of state-listed species including provisions for non-emergency drawdown and refill, vegetation management, and wetlands protection.

The Glendale Project property, including 11 current and former structures, is listed on the National Register of Historic Properties. The project owner must consult with the State Historic Preservation Office, FERC, and Town of Stockbridge Historic Preservation Commission before undergoing any ground disturbing activities.

Recreational resources at the project include a canoe portage and fishing access. A river paddling guide is available and the downstream reach is designated Class III rapids. Public access is provided free of charge.


Certification History

March 31, 2020: The decision to recertify the Glendale Project became final after the close of the appeals period on March 27, 2020 with no appeals filed. The Certification term is from April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2024. There is one condition on the certificate:

  • Condition 1:The Facility Owner shall comply with the four conditions listed in the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s letter dated November 19, 2019 submitted as part of the LIHI application. The Owner shall summarize any activities related to those conditions in annual compliance submittals.

February 26, 2020: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has preliminarily approved recertification of the Glendale Project for a new five-year term.

This decision is preliminary pending the 30-day appeal window. Only those who commented on the initial application during the 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 by email to comments@lowimpacthydro.org with “Glendale Project” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 329 Massachusetts Ave, Suite 6, Lexington, MA 02420. All requests will be posted to the website. The applicant will have an opportunity to respond and any response will also be posted. Requests must be received by 5 pm Eastern time on March 27, 2020. The full application and reviewer’s report are available below.

If no appeal requests are received and the decision becomes final, the Certification term for the Project will be April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2024.

December 16, 2019: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for Low Impact Recertification of the Glendale Hydroelectric Project.  LIHI is seeking public comment on this application.  Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think the Project meets the LIHI Low Impact Certification Criteria, as revised in the 2nd Edition Handbook.  Please review the program and criteria in LIHI’s revised Handbook and then review the Project’s application materials below.

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 “Glendale Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 329 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 6, Lexington, MA 02420.  Comments must be received on or before 5 pm Eastern time on February 14, 2020 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.

June 23, 2014: The Glendale Project is certified as low impact for a five-year term effective April 1, 2014 and expiring April 1, 2019.

May 30, 2014: Public comment period on application is closed.

May 28, 2014: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute received a comment letter from Dennis Regan of the Housatonic Valley Association regarding the certification of the Glendale Project.

April 1, 2014: Littleville Power Company, Inc., a subsidiary of ENEL Green Power North America, submitted an application for the certification of the Glendale Project; public comment period opened.