LIHI Certificate #125 – Hunts Pond Dam Project, Massachusetts

The Hunts Pond (aka Winchendon) Hydroelectric Project is situated upstream of six (6) dams located on the Millers River and downstream of 3 other dams on the main stem of the Millers River. One (1) of the other six downstream dams is a hydroelectric facility owned and operated by an O’Connell affiliated company located at the New Home Dam (Mini-Watt Hydroelectric LLC).

Hunts Pond Dam is the middle of three dams in series (Whitney Dam (non-generating dam) is upstream and Tannery Dam (P-8895) is downstream on the Millers River in Winchendon, Massachusetts. Starrett, Cresticon Lower, Cresticon Upper, Birch Hill and Tannery Pond dams are owned and controlled by unrelated entities as are all of the projects on the upstream tributaries of the Millers River.

The Winchendon Hydroelectric Project holds a FERC Exemption (FERC No. P-8012-MA) with 0.12 MW installed capacity and is operated as a run of river project located at approximately river mile 37.9 on the Millers River in the Town of Winchendon in Worcester County, Massachusetts.

The Hunts Pond Dam FERC Exemption was issued February 19, 1985 and subsequently amended on June 27, 1991 by Mason & Parker (a manufacturer with principle place of business located at the site). Sometime between June 27, 1991 and May 13, 1992 the facility was transferred to Behrens Energy Systems. Behrens failed shortly after purchasing the facility and the facility fell into bankruptcy. The facility was purchased from bankruptcy by O’Connell Development Inc. in 1996. The Project is now owned by Winchendon Hydroelectric, LLC (“WH”), a wholly owned subsidiary of O’Connell. Prior to the bankruptcy purchase an inspection occurred with former operator of the plant on July 25, 1995 and at that time the operator indicated the unit had been off line for 2 to 3 years which would place the time that unit went off line around 1992 to 1993. FERC records indicate the unit went off line in February 1993 which is in general conformity with the operator’s recollection of the operating period. O’Connell repaired the existing units, updated the control system and returned the plant to operating condition. Hunts Pond Dam has been operated by O’Connell since 1996.The Project has been in continuous compliance with its requirements for exemption from licensing since 1996.

Project Name Hunts Pond
LIHI Certificate No. 125
LIHI Certificate Term September 8, 2015 - September 8, 2020, extended to May 15, 2021
Owner Winchendon Hydroelectric LLC
State Massachusetts
Location Located at river mile 38 on the Millers River  in Winchendon, MA.
Installed Capacity 0.12 MW
Average Annual Generation 297 MWH
Facility Type Run-of-river
FERC No. P-8012, exempt 1985

Certification History

February 23, 2021: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) has received a complete recertification application from Winchendon Hydroelectric, LLC for the Hunts Pond Project located on the Millers River in Massachusetts.

LIHI is seeking comment on this application. 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 "Hunts Pond Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 1167 Massachusetts Avenue, Office 407, Arlington, MA 02476. Comments must be received at the Institute on or before 5 pm Eastern time on April 24, 2021 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. The project description and complete application can be found below.

December 24, 2015 – LIHI Executive Director Michael J. Sale, using authority delegated from the LIHI Governing Board and a full review of the Application Reviewer’s report and all public comments and additional materials provided by the Applicant, has certified that the Hunts Pond Dam Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. P-8012) satisfies the LIHI Certification Criteria.  A Preliminary Decision was announced on November 25, 2015, and a 30-day appeal period was open through December 24, 2015. No requests for appeal were received. This Certification Decision includes one facility-specific condition, as follows:

  • Condition satisfied 2016: Within 30 days of LIHI Certification approval, the facility owner shall provide a letter to LIHI that commits to upstream and downstream passage protections for American Eel if and when such fish passage mitigation is determined to be necessary by the MDFW and/or USFWS.

The effective certification date for the Hunts Pond Dam Project is September 8, 2015 for a five (5) year term, which will expire on September 5, 2020.   The certificate is viewable in the Files list below.

September 8, 2015 – On September 8, 2015, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) received a complete application from Winchendon Hydroelectric LLC for the Low Impact Certification of the Hunts Pond Dam Project, FERC P-8012, located on the Millers River in Winchendon, Massachusetts.