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The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Commonwealth Hydropower Program   

Last DSIRE Review: 03/19/2013
Program Overview:
State: Massachusetts
Incentive Type: State Grant Program
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Hydroelectric, Small Hydroelectric
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Nonprofit, Local Government, State Government, Tribal Government, Fed. Government, Institutional
Amount:Design & Construction: 50% of costs or $1.00 per incremental kWh per year
Feasibility study: 80% of costs
Maximum Incentive:Design & Construction: $600,000
Feasibility study: $40,000
Equipment Requirements:All projects must be qualified (or working to be) for Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard
The portion of the facility capacity attributable to increased capacity and efficiency improvements implemented after 1997 must not exceed 30 MW
Projects must have FERC license or exemption, or have proof that they do not fall under FERC's jurisdiction, or be eligible for conduit exemption.
Installation Requirements:Non-conduit feasibility projects must result in an increase in energy generation by at least 200,000 kWh/year (average) and all construction and design projects must result in an increase in energy generation by at least 50,000 kWh per year.
Funding Source:Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust
Start Date:09/2009
Web Site:

Note: This program reopened March 15, 2013. There is $1,200,000 available for Round 5; applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funding is exhausted. See the program web site for application materials.

Through the Commonwealth Hydropower Initiative, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) offers grants for both feasibility studies and construction of hydroelectric facilities. Feasibility studies are capped the lesser of $40,000 or 80% of actual costs. Construction projects are capped at the lesser of  $600,000, 50% of actual costs, or $1.00 per incremental kWh per year for projects that increase an existing system capacity. Hydropower facilities must have qualified (or be expected to qualify) for Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard. MassCEC is the administrator of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund, the state's clean energy fund.

Applicants must have and demonstrate site control (meaning that they have legal control of the project site, through executed agreement or selection to enter into an agreement). In addition, the project must demonstrate an additional 200,000 kilowatt hours/year (non-conduit feasibility grants) or 50,000 kWh/year (design and construction grants) increase in generation and have at least 20 years of useful life. Projects must have a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license or exemption, or a FERC order stating that the facility does not fall under FERC jurisdiction (not common), or the projects must be eligible for a conduit exemption. Projects that require new dams are not eligible.

Projects applying for feasibility funding must provide a 20% cost-share, while design and construction project applicants are responsible for at least 50% cost-share. It should be noted that applicants are encouraged to request less than the maximum allowed funding since cost effectiveness is considered in the application evaluations.

This is a competitive grant. All applications must meet minimum eligibility criteria and will be evaluated on the thoroughness of facility and project descriptions, compliance with dam safety regulations, satisfactory explanation of regulatory/licensing status, status with state renewable portfolio standard qualification and incremental energy production. Projects applying for Design and Construction grants will also be evaluated on economic analysis criteria, thoroughness of feasibility analysis, technical feasibility, efficiency and environmental benefits, development progress and time frame, risks identification and strategy for overcoming those, cost effectiveness, and potential benefits to state ratepayers. Awarded projects are required to meet project milestones, deliverables and reporting deadlines.

Projects must owned by commercial, industrial, institutional (including not-for-profit), or public entities served by one of the investor-owned electric distribution utilities in Massachusetts -- Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light (Unitil), Massachusetts Electric (National Grid), Nantucket Electric (National Grid), NSTAR Electric, or Western Massachusetts Electric -- that contribute to the Renewable Energy Trust. In addition, customers of any Municipal Light Plant (MLP) Department that pays into the Renewable Energy Trust are also eligible (see MassCEC's website for additional information on which MLP's have joined the Renewable Energy Trust Fund).

Applications must be submitted according to MassCEC format guidelines, both hard copies and electronic copies are required. See the program web site for details and for a complete application package.

  Commonwealth Hydropower Initiative
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
55 Summer Street, 9th Floor
Boston, MA 02110
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.