The Eastman Falls Hydroelectric Project (Project) is located in central New Hampshire in Merrimack and Belknap Counties, and in the city of Franklin and towns of Hill, Sanbornton, and New Hampton. The Project is located on the Pemigewasset River approximately 1.5 miles downstream of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Franklin Falls Flood Control Dam, and about one mile upstream of its confluence with the Winnipesaukee River which forms the headwaters of the Merrimack River.  The Project was originally constructed by the Pemigewasset Power Company in 1903, redeveloped by the Boston and Maine Railroad in 1910-1911, and further redeveloped by Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) in 1937 and 1983. The Project’s hydroelectric facilities are owned by Central Rivers Power NH, LLC. The FERC relicensing process for the project was completed in 2017.

Project Description:

Project Name Eastman Falls
LIHI Certificate Number 150
LIHI Effective and Expiration Dates February 13, 2019 – February 12, 2024
Owner Central Rivers Power NH Eastman Falls, LLC
State New Hampshire
Location River mile 1 on the Pemigewasset River
Installed Capacity 6.4 MW
Average Annual Generation 27,871 MWh
Facility Type Run of river
FERC No. 2457

The Project consists of a dam, one spillway waste gate, and two single unit powerhouses. The Project operates in an un-manned, run-of-river mode such that impoundment fluctuations do not exceed + 0.2 feet from the normal impoundment elevation of 307 feet msl with flashboards installed.  The two powerhouses are located on the west bank of the river. The Unit No.1 powerhouse was built in 1937 and contains a single vertical-type turbine with 33 feet of head, a rated capacity of 2,650 hp (1,950 kW) with a maximum flow of 850 cfs and a minimum flow of 250 cfs. The General Electric generator is rated at 1,800 kW.  The Unit No. 2 powerhouse was originally constructed in about 1910 and was retrofitted with a new Kaplan horizontal-type turbine generator in 1983 that operates with 33 feet of head, a rated capacity of 5,790 hp (4,260 kW) with a maximum flow of 1,930 cfs and a minimum flow of 700 cfs, rated at 4,600 kW.    The Project generates approximately 27,871 MWh annually.

Certification History:

June 3, 2019: The decision to certify the Eastman Falls Hydroelectric Project is final. No appeals were received during the appeal period which closed on May 31, 2019. The certification term for the Project is February 13, 2019 through February 12, 2024.

May 1, 2019:  The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) has preliminarily approved Low Impact Certification for the Eastman Falls Hydroelectric Project with the following conditions:

  • Condition 1: The Facility Owner shall provide NHDES’s review comments on the Operation Compliance Monitoring and Maintenance Plan to LIHI within 60 days of its receipt. If the review defines any outstanding issues, the Facility Owner shall provide updates in their annual compliance submittal to LIHI summarizing progress made toward final approval of the plan by NHDES and FERC.
  • Condition 2: The Facility Owner shall provide updates in their annual compliance submittal to LIHI summarizing progress made toward completion of upstream and downstream passage for American eel until all required improvements have been made and approved by FERC.

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 “Eastman Falls Hydroelectric 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 May 31, 2019.  The full application and reviewers report are available below.

If no appeal requests are received and the decision becomes final, the Certification term for the Project (pending LIHI #150) will be February 13, 2019 through February 12, 2024.

February 19, 2019: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for Low Impact Certification of the Eastman Falls 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 “Eastman Falls Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 329 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 2, Lexington, MA 02420.  Comments must be received on or before 5 pm Eastern time on April 20, 2019 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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