Commonwealth Hydropower

Hydropower creates electricity by capturing the energy of falling or flowing water, typically using it to turn a turbine. Traditionally, dams impound rivers to create a pond or reservoir that is at a higher elevation than the water discharge location. This difference in elevation, or head, is critical to the generation of power; the other key variable is the volume of water over time, or flow, that passes through the facility.

Hydropower has a long history in Massachusetts, where it helped power the Industrial Revolution. Some dams that were built in the nineteenth century to generate hydromechanical power were long ago converted to hydroelectric facilities. Many of these facilities (as well as more recently built ones) can be upgraded to be more efficient, more environmentally friendly, or both.