The Challenge: Maximize the Output of Small Hydropower
Massachusetts has numerous small hydropower facilities dating from the Industrial Revolution through the twentieth century. Many can benefit from modernization to extract more energy while minimizing adverse environmental impacts on their host waterways. Water and wastewater conduits also represent an opportunity to capture energy from water. Commonwealth Hydropower seeks to maximize these opportunities to generate local clean energy.
Commonwealth Hydropower is designed to cost-effectively increase the energy output of MA RPS-qualified hydropower through upgrades to existing facilities or the construction of new “conduit” facilities. Upgrades may increase installed capacity or improve the efficiency of the facility.
In FY22, the Commonwealth Hydropower program provided $300,000 in grant funding for feasibility studies and construction projects. Grant size is determined in part by the incremental energy production that the proposed upgrades will enable, as modeled using MassCEC’s methodology. Successful applicants will propose projects that provide economic benefits to Massachusetts’ entities or workers.
Application period opens
February 8, 2023
March 31, 2023
Notification of award
May - June 2023
An Eligible Applicant may be a commercial, industrial, institutional, non-profit, or public entity. The Applicant must demonstrate long-term site control over the project location and the rights to the water used to power the system. If the Applicant does not own the dam or conduit associated with the project, a letter of support from the dam or conduit owner is required.
Eligible facilities must meet criteria related to qualification for the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard and eligible projects must meet cost-effectiveness criteria.
For full Program details, please refer to the Commonwealth Hydropower Round 11 Solicitation
- Consultation with the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. This step is required unless
- the Applicant’s facility is already qualified for the MA Renewable Portfolio Standard or
- the application is for a grant for a “Conduit” feasibility study.
- Submission of a written application.
- Site visit. During application review, MassCEC may request a site visit for MassCEC staff and their technical consultant.
For full Program details, please refer to the Commonwealth Hydropower Round 11 Solicitation and relevant attachments.
Energy Modeling Webinar
Watch this recorded 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 slides and Excel files discussed during the webinar are provided below to enhance your understanding of the methodology. Users should be cautious about using the Excel files for other facilities, as significant adaptations may be necessary.
Energy Modeling Webinar Resources
Other Funding Opportunities
USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
- EPAct 2005 Section 242 Hydroelectric Production Incentive