Hydropower is the use of energy in flowing water to power systems such as mills for grinding or tooling or spinning a turbine/generator system to produce an electrical current. The term hydropower refers to both hydroelectric (relies on falling and flowing water) and hydrokinetic (relies on flow and currents) power systems.

Kinetic energy available in flowing water, tides, and currents has been recognized and utilized for various purposes in New England, and Massachusetts in particular, for centuries. The water management infrastructure created for associated agricultural and commercial purposes is still a very visible component of the New England landscape.

The climatic zone in which we are situated, the glacial soils & topography, and our proximity to the Atlantic Ocean provide the Commonwealth with 44-48 inches of rainfall in a typical year.

Hydropower-based technologies are a rapidly developing sector within our expanding "Green Energy" portfolio. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) have well-developed regulations and tracking systems available for these types of projects. Review of their respective information sources reveals that the number of proposed and approved hydropower projects within the Commonwealth is increasing steadily.

  • Hydroelectric Power - To be viable for hydroelectric power production, a site must have a water source that is elevated above the turbine (referred to as head) and the water must be able to travel down with enough speed and pressure (flow) to cause the turbine to spin. These technologies rely generally on terrestrial water resource systems such as rivers, lakes, ponds and streams. Hydropower & its Use at Public Water Systems in Massachusetts doc format of Hydropower Use at Massachusetts PWSs pdf format of Hydropower Use at Massachusetts PWSs
  • Hydrokinetic Power - Unlike hydroelectric power systems, hydrokinetic turbines are able to produce electricity from flow alone such as that available rivers, channels or ocean currents. Hydrokinetic technologies, while relatively new within the U.S. power production pursuits to date, are rapidly evolving. It is expected that a number of projects currently under design and permitting will be installed throughout the U.S. in the coming months and years. Hydrokinetics Power Systems in Massachusetts doc format of Hydrokinetics Power Systems in Massachusetts pdf format of Hydrokinetics Power Systems in Massachusetts