Massachusetts small hydro program solicits funding applications

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative seeks applications for construction funding for hydropower projects through its small hydropower initiative. Applications are due Sept. 22.

Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, administrator of the state’s Renewable Energy Trust Fund, is an independent economic development agency. It seeks to improve the efficiency and ecological acceptability of the region’s small wholesale hydropower assets.

MTC said its small hydropower initiative could award a total of $1.5 million in grants and loans. It said it is accepting applications for upgrades, rehabilitation, redevelopment, and development of run-of-river hydro projects with capacities ranging from 100 kW to 30 MW.

Projects must be located within the control area of the Independent System Operator�New England and sell all their power into that control area. For projects outside Massachusetts, no more than 25 percent of the electricity generated can be used onsite.

All projects must result in an increase in energy generation. Projects also resulting in benefits to riverine ecology are preferred, MTC said.

Grants and pre-paid Renewable Energy Certificate contracts are limited to $750,000 per project. Loans are limited to $1 million per project. All projects require a minimum applicant cost-share of 25 percent.

Applications are due Sept. 22. MTC said it expects to announce awards in December.

The solicitation, No. 2008-SHI-02, is available on the organization’s Internet site, www.masstech.org. The link to the solicitation is www.masstech.org/Grants_and_Awards/hydro508/2008-SHI-02_Soln_Hydro_May08.pdf.

For information, contact Amy Barad, Project Manager, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, (1) 508-870-0312; E-mail: barad@masstech.org.

MTC offers multiple initiatives benefiting small hydro

MTC said it could offer similar solicitations in the future, although none are scheduled at this time. It does manage additional initiatives that support hydropower projects.

For example, it offers rebates for installation of small renewables projects up to 10 kW. Its Large Onsite Renewables Initiative offers grants for feasibility studies, design, and construction of projects 10 kW or greater. Its pre-development financing initiative offers loans and grants for pre-construction activities, including permitting, detailed design, preparation of environmental impact studies, and feasibility studies.

A new renewables portfolio standard for Massachusetts includes hydropower and hydrokinetic energy as eligible resources. (HNN 7/15/08) The state requires utilities to draw on new renewables for 4 percent of electricity sales in 2009. The amount would increase 1 percent each year, reaching 15 percent by 2020, 25 percent by 2030, and more thereafter.

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