Powerhouse viewed from downstream

Woronoco Hydroelectric Project is located at river mile 18.5 on the Westfield River in, Russell, Massachusetts. The Westfield River originates in North-Western Massachusetts and flows 78.1 miles to its confluence with the Connecticut River in West Springfield. The Project’s operating license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) was issued on April 30, 2002.

Project Name Woronoco
LIHI Certificate Number 68
LIHI Effective and
Expiration Dates
January 28, 2015
January 28, 2020
Owner Woronoco Hydro, LLC, a subsidiary of Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, LLC
State Massachusetts
Location Located at river mile 18.5 on the Westfield River in Russell, Massachusetts.
Installed Capacity 2.68 MW
Average Annual Generation 11,359 MWh
Facility Type Run-of-river
FERC No. 2631

The project’s principal features consist of:

  1. two non-contiguous dam sections and an earthen dike;
  2. a penstock intake area leading to a powerhouse, which contains three turbine/ generator units with an installed capacity of 2.68 MW;
  3. a downstream fish passage facility and three upstream eel ladders;
  4. a 43-acre impoundment at the normal pool elevation; and,
  5. a bypassed reach with three channels, varying in length from 200 to 1,000 feet.

According to the FERC license for this project, there are three generating units installed. When the license was issued in 2002, the project operated with only one unit (Unit 3, which has a rated installed capacity of 1.9 MW with 30″ flashboards). As part of its relicense application, the applicant proposed to rehabilitate the two non-operating low flow units (Units 1 and 2), which have a rated installed capacity of 0.4 MW each. With the rehabilitated units and flashboards, the project would generate at its full capacity of 2.7 MW and, with the Applicant’s proposed minimum flow, would generate an estimated average of about 11,359 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity annually.

The FERC license says the project will continue to be, operated in a run-of-river mode, such that outflows from the project are approximately equal to the sum of the inflows to the project impoundment on an instantaneous basis. Woronoco Hydro would operate the project to minimize fluctuations to the impoundment water surface elevation.

Woronoco forebay and dam

Looking up impoundment from area of dam



Bottom of Salmon Falls on the Westfield River from bridge above Woronoco powerhouse

Certification History

November 8, 2015: LIHI Executive Director Michael J. Sale, using authority delegated from the LIHI Governing Board, has certified that the Woronoco Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. P-2631) continues to satisfy the LIHI Certification Criteria. A Preliminary Decision was announced on November 8, 2015, and a 30-day appeal period was open through December 8, 2015. No requests for appeal were received.

The effective certification date for the Woronoco Project is January 28, 2015 for a five (5) year term, which will expire on January 28, 2020.

July 10, 2015: The Woronoco Hydroelectric project has been granted an extension of the current certificate term. The new expiration date is December 31, 2015. See ExtensionLetter_20150708 for explanation below.

June 23, 2015: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute received a comment letter from Caleb Slater, of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, in support of the recertification of the Woronoco project. The letter can be read in the Files section below.

June 1, 2015: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute received a complete application for a new term of Low Impact Certification for the Woronoco Hydroelectric project on June 1, 2015.  The application materials can be found in the Files section below.

April 10, 2015: The Woronoco Hydroelectric Project has been granted a six month extension of the current certification term.  The new expiration date is July 27, 2015.  See April 2015 Letter Extending Term and Explaining Recertification below.

January 28, 2011: The Woronoco Hydroelectric Project has been certified as low impact for a five year term, effective January 28, 2010 and expiring January 28, 2015.

March 28, 2010: The public comment period for the application for certification has been closed.

January 28, 2010: Woronoco Hydro, LLC has submitted an application for certification of the Woronoco Hydroelectric Project. The public comment period will remain open for 60 days.


2015 Recertification