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
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
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.
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.
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.