The Commonwealth Hydro Program is now accepting solicitations

MassCEC's Hydropower program seeks to increase the output of the Commonwealth’s hydropower assets by providing grants to ecologically-appropriate projects that can be implemented quickly and efficiently.

The applicant’s facility must be licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), have an order from FERC indicating that it is non-jurisdictional to FERC, or have a determination from FERC that it is a "qualifying conduit hydropower facility."

Facilities must either be qualified for the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (MA RPS), or demonstrate a high likelihood of qualifying for the MA RPS, as further explained in the Commonwealth Hydropower solicitation. The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is the agency that grants MA RPS qualification. Applications for MA RPS Class I and Class II (either or both of which may apply to a hydro facility) can be found here, on DOER’s website: MA RPS qualification applications

For Feasibility Study Grants:

  • For studies concerning upgrades to existing facilities, the facility must be licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), have an order from FERC indicating that it is non-jurisdictional to FERC, or have a determination from FERC that it is a "qualifying conduit hydropower facility."
  • For a study regarding a new conduit facility, the applicant must demonstrate that some pre-feasibility work has been performed, such as use of the Conduit Hydropower Screening Tool and other screening-level analyses.  
  • For a study regarding a new facility other than a conduit facility, the site must be on a FERC- licensed canal.

Applicants should download the following forms and reference materials:

First authorized in 2009, the Commonwealth Hydropower Program provides grants for construction projects and feasibility studies for eligible hydropower facilities. Applicants may request funding in the following activity areas:

  • Upgrade of existing hydropower facilities to increase energy generation, such as turbine replacement or refurbishment; installation or upgrade of automated controls; replacement of wooden flashboards with rubber skirt/inflatable crest gate systems; enhanced fish or eel passage (in conjunction with measures to increase generation)
  • Development of new conduit hydropower facilities 
  • Feasibility studies for any of the types of projects listed above

Rees Sweeney-Taylor

Commonwealth Hydropower

How to Apply for Cap Allocation under the Small Hydropower Net Metering Program

Conduit​ Hydropower Project Screening Tool Screening tool to help identify opportunities for conduit hydropower.

Small/Low Impact Hydropower Program Guidance from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding the licensing of small hydropower facilities.

Low Impact Hydropower Institute Program The Low Impact Hydropower Institute and its certification program.

Financial Opportunities Federal financial opportunities for hydropower.

Energy Modeling Webinar:  On January 24, 2018, Fred Szufnarowski of the Essex Partnership presented a webinar on how to model the output of hydropower facilities and determine the incremental energy produced by facility upgrades, consistent with the guidelines in MassCEC’s solicitation.  The accompanying Excel files are discussed during the webinar and are provided to enhance understanding of the methodology.  Users should be cautious about applying them to other facilities, as significant adaptations may be necessary.

November 2016 Workshop Materials: On November 16, 2016, MassCEC held a workshop on Financial Opportunities for Small Hydropower.  Materials from the speakers are linked below.