LIHI Certificate #90 - Deerfield River Project, Vermont and Massachusetts
Settlement AgreementThe Deerfield River Project was one of the first FERC Projects to be relicensed under a comprehensive Settlement Agreement approach executed in 1994. A five-year cooperative consultation process involving state and federal resource agencies, various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the licensee (at that time New England Power Company) resulted in settlement by the parties. The process of reaching this agreement included examination of the power and non-power tradeoffs and effects of a wide variety of operational scenarios. This negotiation process, after careful consideration of alternatives, resulted in a balancing of power and non-power interests associated with the Project through the Settlement Agreement. The FERC License conditions for the Project consist of the operational and environmental measures defined by the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement demonstrated the ability of diverse interests to come together in good faith to balance environmental quality, recreation, fishing, energy production, land preservation and other purposes. The agreement ensures that the Deerfield River will be managed over the License term to improve resource protection while recognizing the value of hydropower as a renewable energy resource.
Project DevelopmentsIn Vermont, the Project facilities are located in the Towns of Somerset, Searsburg, Wilmington, Whitingham, and Readsboro. They consist of:
- Somerset Dam at River Mile (RM) 66, a storage reservoir with no hydropower generation.
- Searsburg Dam at RM 60.3 and Searsburg Powerhouse at RM 56.8
- Harriman Dam at RM 48.5 and Harriman Powerhouse at RM 44.1
- Sherman Dam and Powerhouse at RM 42
- Deerfield No. 5 Dam at RM 41.2 and Deerfield No. 5 Powerhouse at RM 38.5
- Deerfield No. 4 Dam at RM 20 and Deerfield No. 4 Powerhouse at RM 18.5
- Deerfield No. 3 Dam at RM 17 and Deerfield No. 3 Powerhouse at RM 16.8
- Deerfield No. 2 Dam and Powerhouse at RM 13.2.
Description of Project FacilitiesSOMERSET The Somerset facility is located on the East Branch of the Deerfield River, and is the furthest upstream, It consists of a storage reservoir, dam, outlet works and spillway. There are no power generating facilities at this development. Somerset Reservoir is roughly 5.6 miles long and 1.1 miles across at its widest point, with a surface area of 1,514 acres and gross storage of 57,345 acre-feet. For the normal operating range from elevation 2128.10 msl to 2113.10 msl, Somerset Reservoir provides 20,614 acre-feet of storage. The earth-fill dam is about 110 feet high and 2,101feet long. Water can be conveyed from the reservoir at two locations. The main outlet works, located in the gatehouse at the eastern end of the dam has two gated 48-inch diameter pipes used to control reservoir discharge and minimum flow. In addition to the main outlet works, there is a side channel spillway with 3-foot flashboards located at the western end of the dam. The spillway channel is about 800 feet long, 45 feet wide, and from 6 to 30 feet deep. This spillway is used only for extreme flood events.
|Project Name||Deerfield River|
|LIHI Certificate No.||90|
|LIHI Certificate Term||April 25, 2012 - April 25, 2020, extended to May 31, 2021|
|Owner||Great River Hydro, LLC|
|Location||The project consists of eight developments, located between river mile 13.2 and 66 in Bennington and Windham Counties in Vermont, and in Berkshire and Franklin Counties in Massachusetts; the project area encompasses about a 65-mile reach of the Deerfield River.|
|Installed Capacity||Total 86 MW (audited) Searsburg: 5 MW; Harriman: 41 MW; Sherman: 6 MW; Deerfield No. 5: 14 MW; Deerfield No. 4: 6 MW; Deerfield No. 3: 7 MW; Deerfield No. 2: 7 MW|
|Annual Generation||260,275 MWh total (10 year average)|
|Facility Type||Somerset: no hydropower generation Searsburg: peaking, daily storage Harriman: peaking, seasonal storage Sherman: peaking, weekly storage Deerfield No. 5: peaking, daily storage Deerfield No. 4: peaking, daily storage Deerfield No. 3: peaking, daily storage Deerfield No. 2: peaking, daily storage|
|FERC No.||P-2323 issued 1997, expires 2037|
Searsburg dam, gatehouse, and wooden penstockThe powerhouse is a steel frame and brick structure constructed in 1922. It contains one vertical Francis unit with a nameplate capacity of 4,160 KW (audited at 5 MW). The powerhouse also contains appurtenant mechanical and electrical facilities. The transformer yard is located outside, just east of the powerhouse and contains a single air break switch and motor operator, an overhead bus structure and the station Generator Step-up (GSU) transformer and accessories. The GSU is a three-phase transformer rated at 5000 kVA, stepping up voltage from 2.4 to 69 kV for the transmission system. In addition to the 69 kV transmission interconnection, there is a small local distribution feeder supplied from this station. HARRIMAN The Harriman Development is operated on a peaking, seasonal storage basis. The facility consists of a storage reservoir, an earth-fill dam, a “morning glory” spillway, intake, conveyance tunnel and penstocks, powerhouse, and substations. Harriman Reservoir is approximately 9 miles long and 0.78 mile across at its widest point, and has a surface area of 2,039 acres. It has a maximum depth of 180 feet and a useable drawdown of 86 feet. It has 103,375 acre-feet of useable storage and 117,300 acre-feet of gross storage. The Harriman Dam is an earth-fill dam 215.5 feet high and 1250 feet long. Most spill is through the “morning glory” spillway, which is equipped with 6 feet of flashboards. A 21.5-foot high horseshoe shaped tunnel discharges water from the spillway to the downstream channel. There is also a 4-foot diameter pipe that leads from the original construction diversion tunnel to the morning glory spillway tunnel. In 1998 the outlet pipe was modified to hold a 14-inch diameter fixed cone discharge valve. This valve is used to discharge the minimum flows for the bypass. The flow of water to the powerhouse intake is controlled by two 8-foot diameter valves. Water is conveyed through these valves to the powerhouse via a 12,812-foot long, 14-foot diameter concrete lined horseshoe shaped tunnel, a steel differential surge tank 34 feet in diameter and 184 feet high, and three steel penstocks 9 feet in diameter and 620 feet long. The powerhouse is a steel frame and brick structure built in 1925. It contains three vertical Francis units with a nameplate capacity of 11,200 KW each (audited at 41 MW total). The powerhouse also contains appurtenant mechanical and electrical facilities. There are two switchyards located at Harriman Station. One is rated at 69 kV, and the other at 115 kV. The only equipment owned by the Licensee in these switchyards includes a small section of overhead bus structure, two Generator Step-up (GSU) transformers rated at 12/16/20 MVA with accessories, six single phase hook stick operated disconnect switches and two 115 kV oil circuit breakers located in the 115 kV yard. The GSU transformers step up the voltage from 6600 volts to 115kV. SHERMAN The Sherman Development is operated on a peaking, weekly storage basis. The facility consists of an earth-fill dam and spillway, intake and penstock, powerhouse, and substation. Sherman Reservoir is roughly 2 miles long and 0.25 miles across at its widest point with a surface area of 218 acres, 1359 acre-feet of useable storage and gross storage of 3593 acre- feet. The impoundment also formerly provided once-through cooling water for the now decommissioned Yankee Atomic Electric Power Company’s (YAEC) Rowe Station. Sherman Dam is an earth-fill structure 110 feet high and 810 feet long with a 179-foot long concrete gravity spillway and a concrete and brick intake structure. Four feet of flashboards are maintained on the spillway year round. Water is conveyed from Sherman Reservoir either through spillage, or via the powerhouse intake. Water is conveyed to the powerhouse via a concrete conduit 98 feet in length with a cross-sectional area of 142 square feet, and a steel penstock 13 feet in diameter and 227 feet long. There are no diversion canals or tunnels. The powerhouse is a steel frame and brick structure built in 1927. It contains one vertical Francis unit with a nameplate capacity of 7,200 KW (audited at 6 MW). The facility also contains appurtenant mechanical and electrical facilities. The switchyard is located outside the powerhouse and contains four transformers, each rated at 3,000 kVA (one transformer per phase and one spare) that step up the voltage from 2.4 kV to 115 kV. The yard also contains lightning arresters, disconnect switch, and air break. DEERFIELD NO. 5 The Deerfield No. 5 Development is operated on a peaking, daily storage basis. The facility consists of two dams, a series of diversion tunnels, canals and penstocks, the powerhouse, and a substation. The impoundment is about 0.75 mile long and 180 feet across at its widest point with a surface area of 38 acres, and gross storage of 118 acre-feet. It is comprised of a concrete gravity spillway 35 feet high and 90 feet long; a concrete intake structure that directs water to a minimum flow pipe; two low level sluices; and a power tunnel located in the west abutment. Water is conveyed from the impoundment by spillage, the minimum flow pipe, the sluice gates, or by the intake tunnel to the powerhouse. Hydraulically controlled steel flap gates are used to maintain normal reservoir elevation along the entire spillway crest. The control gates in the western abutment intake structure are composed of two 8-foot wide by 7.75-foot high sluices and a single 12.5-foot by 13-foot intake gate. Two tunnels, two concrete conduits, and three canals criss-cross River Road and total 14,941 feet in length. There is also small diversion structure on Dunbar Brook, which is a concrete gravity structure approximately 12 feet high and 160 feet long. Water is directed from Dunbar Brook into one of the tunnels. Collectively, these structures convey water from the dam to a 400-foot long, 10-foot diameter steel penstock and then to the powerhouse. The powerhouse is a steel frame and concrete structure constructed in 1974. It replaced the original station which was removed when the Bear Swamp Pumped Storage Project (#2669) was built. The powerhouse contains one vertical Francis unit with a nameplate capacity of 17,550 KW (audited at 14 MW), as well as appurtenant mechanical and electrical facilities. The switchyard is located on River Road across from the Bear Swamp Visitor’s Center. The only switchyard equipment owned by the Licensee includes one 15 kV oil circuit breaker used as a terminal line switch from the 13.8 kV overhead line from the Fife Brook Station, part of the Bear Swamp Project, and a set of three single phase hook- operated disconnect switches from the Deerfield #5 Station bus. DEERFIELD NO. 4 The Deerfield No. 4 Development is operated on a peaking, daily storage basis. The facility consists of an earth-fill dam, spillway and sluice gates, intake and tunnel, forebay and penstocks, powerhouse, and substation. The impoundment is roughly 2 miles long and 500 feet across at its widest point, with a surface area of 75 acres, gross storage of 467 acre-feet and usable storage of 432 acre-feet. The dam is comprised of an earth-fill embankment (with a concrete core) approximately 50 feet high and 160 feet long, a 241-foot long concrete gravity spillway, and three sluice gates located in the east abutment. The dam is equipped with flashboards ranging in height from 6 to 8 feet. Water is conveyed from the impoundment either by spillage or by sluice gates located in the eastern abutment. The intake gates include a 10-foot by 10-foot, an 8-foot by 10-foot and a single 10-foot by 14-foot surface sluice. In addition, a 6-foot by 12-foot surface sluice gate is located adjacent to, and downstream of, the power tunnel intake racks. This gate discharges into a 10-foot diameter vertical conduit which in turn, discharges into a 4-foot diameter pipe that discharges into the tailrace. It has an electric operator that is remotely controlled from the River Control Center, and used to pass minimum flows and is the intended downstream fish passage. The power tunnel conveys water from the intake structure at the impoundment via a 12.5-foot diameter, 1,514 foot long concrete and brick lined horseshoe shaped tunnel that leads to the powerhouse forebay. The earthen forebay has a 12,000 square foot surface area and a 35-foot depth. From the forebay, water is conveyed through three 10-foot diameter, 154 foot long steel penstocks to the powerhouse. The powerhouse is a steel frame and brick structure constructed in 1913. It contains three horizontal Francis units each having a nameplate capacity of 1,600 KW (audited at 6 MW total), and appurtenant mechanical and electrical facilities. A Generator Step-up (GSU) transformer rated at 5,000/7000 kVA is located outside adjacent to powerhouse. It steps up voltage from 2.3 to 69 kV. A spare 3,000 kVA transformer is located in the high tension room of the powerhouse. There is also an outdoor 69 kV switchyard located across the Deerfield River which contains a single 69 kV sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) gas circuit breaker and a single gang-operated 69 kV disconnect switch. There is also a small local distribution feeder that is supplied from this station. DEERFIELD NO. 3 The Deerfield No. 3 Development is operated on a peaking, daily storage basis. The facility consists of a concrete gravity dam and sluice gates, intake, tunnel, forebay and penstocks, powerhouse, and substation. The impoundment is roughly 1.3 miles long and 300 feet across at its widest point with a surface area of 42 acres, 221 acre-feet of gross storage and 200 acre-feet of useable storage. The dam is composed of a concrete gravity spillway approximately 15 feet high and 475 feet long equipped with 6-foot flashboards, two sluice gates and a power tunnel intake located in the south abutment. The sluice gates in the south abutment include a 10-foot wide surface sluice and an 8-foot wide by 4-foot high submerged sluice. A 6 foot by 10 foot surface sluice gate, located adjacent to, and downstream of, the power tunnel intake racks, discharges directly into the tailrace. This gate has an electric operator that is remotely controlled from the River Control Center and used to pass minimum flows and is the intended downstream fish passage. The power tunnel exiting the gated intake is a 677-foot long, 17-foot wide by 12.5-foot high concrete conduit. It runs underground to an 880-foot long forebay from which water is conveyed via three 59-foot long, 10-foot diameter steel penstocks to the powerhouse. The powerhouse is a steel frame and brick structure built in 1912. It contains three horizontal Francis units with a nameplate capacity of 1,600 KW each (audited at 7 MW total). The powerhouse also contains appurtenant mechanical and electrical equipment, and the switchyard. A Generator Step-Up (GSU) transformer, rated at 5,000 kVA is located outdoors adjacent to the Station. This transformer unit steps up the voltage from 2,300 volts to 69kV. In addition to the 69kV transmission interconnection, there is a small local distribution feeder that is supplied from this station. The tail-water for Deerfield No. 3 is formed by the headwaters of the downstream impoundment of the Gardner’s Falls Plant (owned by Consolidated Edison, FERC License No. 2334). The Deerfield No. 3 powerhouse discharges into an impounded section of the river even when Gardner’s Falls is maintained at its lowest level. DEERFIELD NO. 2 (See featured image at top of page) - The Deerfield No. 2 Development is operated on a peaking, daily storage basis. The facility consists of a concrete gravity dam and sluice gates, an inflatable bladder, trippable flashboards, intake and penstocks, powerhouse, and substation. The impoundment is roughly 1.5 miles long and 500 feet across at its widest point with a surface area of 63.5 acres, 550 acre-feet of gross storage and 500 acre-feet of useable storage. The dam consists of a concrete gravity spillway approximately 70 feet high and 447 feet long, with an inflatable bladder, trippable flashboards, sluice gates and an integral powerhouse located at the western end of the spillway. Water can be conveyed from the impoundment by either spillage, sluice gates or through the powerhouse. Ten feet of trippable flashboards on top of the spillway crest and the inflatable bladder (112 feet long by 10 feet high) are used to maintain normal impoundment elevation. When water is at the top of the bladder, it will deflate automatically if inflow exceeds the powerhouse discharge. The two surface sluices are each 10 feet wide. A 6-foot by 16-foot surface sluice gate is located between the two 10-foot wide sluices and the inflatable bladder. It discharges directly into the tailrace, downstream of the dam. This gate has an electric operator which is remotely controlled from the River Control Center and is the intended for use as the downstream fish passage. The powerhouse is a steel frame and brick structure constructed in 1913 and integral to the Deerfield No. 2 Dam. The powerhouse includes a gated intake structure with three steel penstocks, each of which is 11 feet in diameter and 35 feet long. The powerhouse contains three horizontal Francis units, each with a nameplate capacity of 1,600 KW (audited at 7 MW total) and appurtenant mechanical and electrical facilities, as well as the switchyard. A single Generator Step-Up (GSU) transformer rated at 5000/6250 kVA steps up the voltage from 2300 volts to 69 kV. This GSU transformer unit is located outside adjacent to the powerhouse. There is also a spare 69 - 2.3 kV, 3000 kVA transformer located in the high-tension room of the powerhouse.
November 30, 2020: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for Low Impact recertification of the Deerfield River Hydroelectric Project. The complete application can be found below.
LIHI is seeking public 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 email@example.com with “Deerfield River Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 1167 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington MA 02476. Comments must be received on or before 5 pm Eastern time on January 29, 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.
May 15, 2016: LIHI has received notice that TransCanada Hydro Northeast Inc. was converted to a limited liability company on April 7, 2017, becoming TransCanada Hydro Northeast LLC. On April 19, 2017, the name of the company was changed from TransCanada Hydro Northeast LLC to Great River Hydro, LLC.
September 15, 2012: The Deerfield River Project has been certified as low impact for an eight year term, effective April 25, 2012 and expiring April 25, 2020. This Certification is issued with the following specific conditions:
- Condition 1:If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the State of Massachusetts requests upstream and/or downstream eel passage facilities at the Project, the Project owner shall so notify LIHI within 30 days and shall enter into, and provide LIHI with a copy of, an agreement reached among the Project owner, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and/or the State of Massachusetts to provide both interim (if requested by a Resource Agency) and permanent safe, timely, and effective passage for American eel. The Agreement must be finalized within 120 days of the request for passage and must include a description of the planned passage and protection measures and the implementation schedule for design, installation, and operations. The agreement shall be filed with LIHI within 30 days of its execution.
- Condition 2:If the State of Vermont requests modification of the Project or its operation at Harriman Dam to address temperature and/or dissolved oxygen concerns pursuant to Article 415 of the Project FERC license, the Project owner shall so notify LIHI within 30 days and shall enter into, and provide LIHI with a copy of, an agreement reached among the Project owner and the State of Vermont to address those concerns. The Agreement must be finalized within 120 days of the request for Project modification and must include a description of the planned measures and the implementation schedule for those measures. The agreement shall be filed with LIHI within 30 days of its execution.
April 25, 2012: TransCanada Hydro Northeast has resubmitted their application for certification of the Deerfield River Project. They had originally filed for low impact certification in December of 2009 but withdrew in August of 2010 when several issues of concern were identified by the Application Reviewer.
December 31, 2009: TransCanada Hydro Northeast submitted an application for certification of the Deerfield River project.
- Deerfield River Recertification Application 2020
- Deerfield River Facility Information Table
- Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game Deerfield River Recertification Comments
- Trout Unlimited Connecticut River Valley Chapter Deerfield River Recertification Comments
- Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Deerfield River Recertification Comments 2021
- Connecticut River Conservancy Comments on Deerfield River Recertification Application 2021
- Deerfield River Certification Review Report
- Deerfield River Certification Questionnaire
- Application Attachment - Resource Agencies
- Application Attachment - Project Description
- Application Attachment - Responses to Questionnaire
- Connecticut River Watershed Council Comment Letter - Deerfield River 2010
- Deerfield River Watershed Association Deerfield Comment Letter - Deerfield River 2010
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Comment Letter - Deerfield River 2010
- Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Comment Letter - Deerfield River 2010
- Trout Unlimited Comment Letter - Deerfield River 2012
- Trout Unlimited Letter to TransCanada
- Deerfield River License 1997
- FERC Final Environmental Impact Statement 1996
- Vermont Water Quality Certificate 1995
- Massachusetts Water Quality Certificate 1994
- Deerfield Settlement Agreement 1994