Holyoke No. 1 P-2386

General information

Waterway  Holyoke Canal
Current status   Active 
Type of facility Conventional Hydro
Mode of hydropower generation Canal/Conduit
Type of permit FERC License

FERC information

FERC docket # P-2386
FERC project name Holyoke No 1
Permit issued 2/23/89
Permit expiration 1/27/19

Ownership and operation

Owner City of Holyoke Gas and Electric Dept.
Owner type Publicly Owned Utility
Year first online (conventional hydro) 1893
Transmission or distribution system owner City of Holyoke - (MA)

Power and generating capacity

Number of units 4
Total capacity from hydraulic turbine-generator units within each plant 2.6 MW
Average annual net hydropower generation 6,859.9 MWH

The Holyoke Project is located on the Connecticut River in northwestern Massachusetts, and consists of six hydroelectric dams. Originally licensed in 1949, the project received a new license from FERC in August, 1999.

  • The license requires a minimum river flow in a part of the river where formerly there were no flows, also called a bypassed reach. The new flows also fluctuate seasonally to more closely mimic natural flow rhythms.
  • Project operations were significantly modified from ‚Äúpeaking‚Äù to ‚Äúrun-of-river‚Äù operations. Peaking operations only release water through the turbines when energy generation is necessary‚Äîcausing dramatic shifts in flow depending on daily energy needs, and dominating the entire flow of the river. Run-of-river operations do more to keep a river’s flow relatively intact while continuing to generate power.
  • Reservoir levels were ordered to register at increasingly stabilized positions.
  • The Massachusetts DEP supplied 24 water quality rules for the license in accordance with the Clean Water Act.
  • The United States Fish and Wildlife Service provided conditions for fish passage on the dams, so that fish ‚Äì like the anadromous Atlantic salmon ‚Äì may move past the dams.

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