GZA was engaged to assess the feasibility of upgrading two existing dams on the East Branch of the Housatonic River for hydroelectric generation. Originally built to provide water and hydromechanical power to paper mills adjacent to the river, the dams no longer generated energy. GZA’s work was integral to the client’s multi-phased approach to plan, design, and license the project while obtaining substantial financial assistance through sustainable energy grants. 


GZA’s initial resource assessment study supported the client’s successful application to the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) [now Mass Clean Energy Center] for a Feasibility Grant that considered hydropower generation at Byron Weston Mill Dam No. 1 and Dam No. 2. GZA then prepared a full Feasibility Study investigating hydropower generation potential based on available head, available flow, and physical configuration of the facilities; technical and financial assessment of hydropower generation; and potential environmental and regulatory considerations. GZA also created a concept-level design for the preferred hydropower alternative which, based on the Feasibility Study results, was installation of a new hydropower generation plant at Byron Weston Dam No. 2. GZA then assisted the client secure a MTC Design and Construction Grant, prepared FERC licensing documents, conducted stakeholder meetings, and helped develop a water quality study plan resulting from agency consultation comments. GZA prepared a draft and final exemption application for the project, as well as all final design plans, specifications, and contract documents. Design elements included interior structural work, penstock transition piece, and tailrace bulkhead, as well as the selection of a new 250 kW double regulated Kaplan turbine generator set. 


GZA's technical support, from pre-feasibility through licensing and contract documents, was integral to the funding and commissioning of this energy project.