Environment

We will protect the environment, and leave fish migration and habitats undisturbed or improved.
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There is a balance: producing clean, renewable, small-scale hydro and constructing the means to do so.

We are faced with finding new ways to deliver renewable energy on the one hand, and protecting the environment on the other.  The equation is complex whatever the technology and energy source, and NEHC believes that small-scale hydropower is a complement to either solar or wind—and far more productive based on capacity factors, especially in the Northeast. Taking into account dry summer periods and frozen winter periods, NEHC can produce power at a 55% capacity factor or better which is several times that of wind and solar.

The fuel—water—is plentiful and screw generators as we use them in run of the river circumstances do not deplete water or change the flow dynamics. Up-river and down river flows remain unchanged.

Clean electric power

The inherent qualities of Archimedes-based screw generators enable us to pursue the development of renewable, clean electric power. They turn slowly, about 30 turns per minute.  If fish enter the top of the machine, they simply ride down the screw in a large tub of water and swim out at the bottom, largely undisturbed. Turbulence at the outflow of the screw generator is minimal due to the fact that the water is not accelerated or diverted in these run-of–river generating sites.

Fish passage, fish friendly

Designing the two together better manages costs from start to finish. The outcome is reliant on the ability to build responsible passageways along side of small-scale power works while achieving a positive return on investment.

Studies have been undertaken in the United States on screw pumps and in the United Kingdom on screw generators to establish the fish friendliness of small-scale screw generator sites.

Large and Small Fish Friendly

Studies have been undertaken in the United States on screw pumps and in the United Kingdom on screw generators to establish the fish friendliness of small-scale screw generator sites.

Archimedes screws have been evaluated on anadromous and resident species by:

US DOI USBR Red Bluffs Pump StationThe US DOI Denver Technical Service CenterUS DOE – Office of Technology AssessmentNOAA National Marine Fisheries Service

The screw can pass large and small fish at very low rates of mortality and injury at all life stages

The speed of the screw does not affect survival/injury ratesEnhances water quality

Peer-review studies with universities in the UK and Europe have similar findings

NEHC works with all inland and coastal fisheries agencies to ensure strict compliance with local, state and national regulations in addition to seeking mandated FERC permitting for each site.

Permitting

Understanding the benefits of our waterways and their history as we seek to generate clean, zero-emission electricity without harming habitat or fish leads us to that true alignment.

That is why NEHC only considers projects at existing dams that still serve a valued purpose. We do not re-engineer or enhance them to augment the power of the flowing water. Our goal is to ensure our projects are truly low-impact, run-of-river.

Local wisdom, experience, and vision are integral to the development of successful, beneficial projects.  Knowing that, we reach out to owners, and to communities and their leaders as partners and collaborators early in the evaluation of every proposed site. 

Our experience has been that wherever we go there are well-educated agency stewards and policy-makers; and equally, there are knowledgeable community advocates, naturalists, conservationists, researchers, and engineers.  We proactively engage with these experts in order to bring the value of their expertise to our work before we resolve to move forward on a project.

Hydropower licensing is not a simple process. Each site has its own specific complexity. It requires defined knowledge and skill in order to navigate through, but working inclusively and openly, we have had success. We have experts who know the course and who find smart and creative solutions to issues that arise. We are in the business of building associations because that is the way we will most efficiently bring renewable hydropower to the marketplace.

 

"We founded this company to restore useful work to the dam sites and waterways that built New England and the nation. We have found in our process that the nation’s builders had a remarkable understanding of the value of the resource. They knew precisely how to use it in their time. We have found a way to use the foundation they built, and in a clean, non-invasive way, renew its value."

Michael Kerr
New England Hydropower, Chief Executive Officer

"Opening a conversation about generating power on an old dam on a cherished river is always complicated—even when it is small-scale, renewable and clean. There is a great interest in what we are doing, and a wide variety of constituents. Because every project becomes part of a community, NEHC works transparently to form working relationships in those communities. We will always be willing and open to have a dialogue, especially when there is an issue to solve."

Chris Conover
New England Hydropower, Chief Marketing Officer

"We harvest rain and snow. That is, we use the natural flow of waterways, engineering each site individually to minimize our impact, and derive clean, renewable energy. Our sites are small-scale, manageable. With many of them in place, we can provide a significant source of green power.."

Roger Hutton
New England Hydropower, Co-Founder and Director of Sales

"Permitting is the name for the rigorous process we manage carefully to build projects. Is it not exclusively about the rules and regulations. It is about outcome. It is about understanding the specific natural resource and societal issues for each site, and exploring the best way to approach and respond to them. Local knowledge is often the key to success."

Carol Wasserman
New England Hydropower, Principal, Environmental and Regulatory Affairs