Case Study: Northfield Mountain

Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage & Turners Falls Hydroelectric Project Relicensing

FirstLight Power Resources (Northfield, MA)

 

Gomez and Sullivan is the lead consultant for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicensing of the 1,166.8-MW Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project and the 67.7-MW Turners Falls Hydroelectric Project on the Connecticut River in western MA. The license for both projects expires on April 30, 2018. Initial activities involved development of a relicensing strategic plan and several key management and technical tools, including a customized SharePoint-based Information Management System and Citrix-hosted GIS. Gomez and Sullivan and its team led the study execution effort resulting in over 39 FERC approved studies, involving key issues such as upstream and downstream passage of diadromous fish species (American shad and American eel), downstream flow regime (peaking flows, ramping, and bypass minimum flows), impoundment water level fluctuations, shoreline erosion, and endangered species (shortnose sturgeon, puritan tiger beetle, and state-listed plant, insect and mussel species) and operations models. Field studies were conducted in 2014, 2015 and 2016 with many studies delayed due to the closure of the Vermont Yankee (VY) Nuclear facility, which would change baseline environmental conditions. Gomez and Sullivan was responsible for filing the Draft and Final License Application; however, because of VY a select number of field studies were delayed by FERC to occur in 2016.