LIHI Certificate No. 89 Holyoke Hydroelectric System, Holyoke, MA


Portland, Maine (July 26, 2012) - The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) is pleased to announced that at LIHI’s July 26, 2012 Board Meeting the Institute’s Governing Board determined that the Holyoke Hydropower System met the LIHI Certification Criteria.  In reaching its decision to certify the Holyoke Hydropower System, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute’s Governing Board reviewed the application for certification, as well as the Application Reviewer’s report and recommendations. LIHI certification for the Holyoke Hydropower System is granted with four non-standard conditions for the 5-year term beginning on January 1, 2012 and expiring on January 1, 2017.

In reaching its decision to certify the Holyoke Hydropower System, the Low Impact  Hydropower Institute’s Governing Board reviewed the application for certification, as well as the Application Reviewer’s report.  The Board’s vote to certify the Holyoke Hydropower System was unanimous and the Board approves certification for the Holyoke Hydropower System for five-years with the following specific conditions: 

Issue 1: HG&E is behind schedule on implementation of downstream fish passage improvements at Hadley Falls Station.

Condition 1. If HG&E does not meet any of the downstream fish passage design and implementation deadlines that fall within the 5-year term of certification,LIHI will suspend certification unless HG&E demonstrates to LIHI that the resource agencies believe good cause exists for the schedule delay. Any subsequent recertifications of the Facility will be dependent on HG&E’s passage facilities meeting effectiveness targets set by the agencies.

Issue 2: HG&E reduced the length of the annual Shad Derby without consultation of Resource Agencies and NGOs and without seeking an amendment of the FERC-approved recreation plan.

Condition  2. HG&E shall either 1) restore the Shad Derby to two May weekends per year starting with May 2013 and at a minimum through the term of this certification, or 2) shall sponsor the Shad Derby for only one May weekend per year but only if the change from two weekends to one is approved by FERC based on an application to amend the Project 2004 recreation plan, with full consultation of Resource Agencies and interested NGOs. Should HG&E seek to amend the recreation plan, the Shad Derby shall be sponsored for two weekends per year until such time as FERC acts. HG&E shall inform LIHI of its decision by October 1, 2012. If it chooses to seek to amend the recreation plan, it shall notify LIHI of FERC’s final decision within 30 days of issuance. Continued non-compliance with this element of the recreation plan shall result in immediate revocation of this certification. Should HG&E obtain a written determination from FERC that the change from two weekends to one is not subject to FERC approval, HG&E shall provide LIHI with a copy of the determination and this condition shall become nullified.

UPDATE: On September 28, 2012 HG&E notified LIHI of their determination to restore the Shad Derby to two May weekends per year starting with May 2013 and to continue this practice as long as LIHI certification is in effect.

Any Commenter may submit within 30 days of the posting of the Certification Decision on the Institute’s Web page a letter to the Executive Director requesting an appeal.  An appeal request must include specific reasons why the hydropower facility should have failed one or more criteria.  If an individual or organization did not comment on the initial Application Package, they may not file an appeal. 


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Holyoke Gas and Electric Hydropower System

LIHI Certificate #89

Boatlock Station (FERC No. 2004);

Beebe-Holbrook Station (FERC No. 2004);

Skinner Station (FERC No. 2004);

Holyoke 1 (FERC No. 2386);

Holyoke 2 (FERC No. 2387);

Holyoke 4 (FERC No. 7758);

Riverside (FERC No. 2004);

Station No. 5 (Valley) (FERC No. 10806);

Crocker Mill A and B (FERC No. 2758);

Crocker Mill C (FERC No. 2770);

Albion Mill D (FERC No. 2766);

Albion Mill A (FERC No. 2768);

Mt. Tom Mill (FERC No. 2497);

Nonotuck (FERC No. 2771);

Gillmill A (FERC No. 2772);

Gillmill D (FERC No. 2775);

Holyoke 3 Station (FERC No. 2388);

and Chemical (FERC No. 2004).

Portland, Maine (May 14, 2010) – The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) announced today that Holyoke Gas and Electric Department ("Applicant" or "HG&E") has submitted an application for certification of the HG&E Hydroelectric System. Formed in 1902, HG&E is a municipally owned utility that provides electricity, natural gas, district steam, and fiber optic Internet services to over 18,000 customers in Holyoke Massachusetts.

Prior to 2001 HG&E owned a small number of Hydro stations located on the Holyoke Canal -- a three tiered canal system that was originally built to provide process water to manufacturing facilities throughout the city. In 2001 HG&E purchased the Holyoke Project which includes the Hadley Falls Station on the Connecticut River, and five more stations on the Holyoke Canal. Since 2001 HG&E has continued to purchase additional stations on the canal.

The current hydro system includes seventeen developments under twelve separate FERC licenses. Hadley Falls is the only facility that has a dam and an impoundment. The remaining stations are located on the Holyoke Canal, which utilizes the head created by the Hadley Falls dam, and flow diverted from the Connecticut River at the dam.


The HG&E Hydroelectric System is operated in a Run-of-River (ROR) mode in compliance with numerous flow requirements established under the Settlement and Amended License. In addition to ROR operations, the HG&E system is operated under specific flow prioritization requirements, and provides bypass reach flows, canal flows, and fish passage flows. In addition, there is a low flow contingency plan for system operations.

The Holyoke Dam is the first dam encountered by fish migrating up the Connecticut River to spawn. Providing safe and adequate passage has been a priority at the Holyoke Project since the late 1800s. Several fish passage ladders were installed between the mid 1800s and the mid-1900s. In 1955 the first fishlift was constructed at the Project. The fish passage facilities have undergone substantial modifications and improvements since that time. Today, the project provides passage for migratory fish in the Holyoke Project area.

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