Company
Snapshot

DEERFIELD RIVER HYDROELECTRIC SYSTEM
 
 

 
AT A GLANCE

  • Consists of Somerset Reservoir and seven hydroelectric stations and associated dams and a pumped storage facility
  • 573 megawatts of pumped storage capacity
  • 84 megawatts of clean, conventional hydroelectric power
  • Important source of power to meet peak demands
  • Electricity sold into New England's competitive power market
  • Home to popular recreational and nature areas
 
 
 
   

 THE RIVER SYSTEM

The Deerfield River hydroelectric system spans approximately 65 miles of the Deerfield River in southern Vermont and northwestern Massachusetts. The system includes Somerset Reservoir at the northern end of the watershed and seven conventional hydroelectric dams and stations downstream with a capacity of 84 megawatts, as well as a 573 megawatt pumped storage facility. The facilities are an important source of clean, competitively priced power for the region, sold by an affiliate of National Energy & Gas Transmission into the wholesale power market.

 THE FACILITIES

Deerfield Stations 2, 3 and 4 are located near Shelburne Falls, Mass. The facilities are capable of producing six megawatts, six and a half megawatts and six megawatts, respectively. Harriman Dam and Station, located in Wilmington and Whitingham, Vt., features three generating units capable of producing 40 megawatts of electric power. The facility was developed in the early 1920s. It was named in 1929 for Henry Harriman, an early pioneer of hydroelectric power in New England. The Harriman Reservoir is the largest body of water entirely in the state of Vermont, and along with Somerset Reservoir, is responsible for feeding the entire Deerfield hydro system.

Five other stations on the Deerfield are remotely controlled from the control center: the five-megawatt Searsburg Dam and Station, the 14-megawatt Deerfield Number 5 Dam and Station, the six-megawatt Sherman Dam and Station and the Bear Swamp Pumped Storage Facility, including the 10-megawatt Fife Brook Station.

 TECHNOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE

The Deerfield River units are operated from reservoir storage and can quickly and cost effectively respond to peak demands. Other units operate subject to seasonal water flows to produce power at a relatively low cost. Housed within the system’s seven stations are 16 generating units, ranging in size from one five-megawatt unit at Searsburg Station, to the three 15-megawatt units at Harriman Station.

 LAND MANAGEMENT

National Energy & Gas Transmission's New England affiliate owns 32,000 acres of land associated with hydro production in New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. Over the years, the Deerfield system has been recognized for land conservation efforts, which include tree farm maintenance, endangered species protection and safeguards for wildlife habitat.

During the Deerfield system's standard federal re-licensing (covering all but Bear Swamp and Fife Brook, which hold a separate license), millions of dollars were committed for environmental enhancements, including funds for fish passage facilities, education projects and conservation easements on approximately 18,000 acres of land. Working with groups such as the Appalachian Mountain Club, U.S. National Park Service and the Conservation Law Foundation, the system established strategic goals as part of the federal re-licensing process that balance environmental protection, recreational use and electricity generation.

 RECREATION

Much of the land associated with the hydro facilities is open to the public. Every year, the Deerfield and Connecticut River systems host more than a half million visitors at their park lands and reservoirs. Trails for hiking and cross country skiing wind through the property, along with dozens of picnic areas. Twenty boat launches on both rivers encourage area residents and visitors to swim, boat and water-ski.

 OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT

The Deerfield River hydroelectric system is owned by an affiliate of National Energy & Gas Transmission, Inc.