Historic powerhouse will produce 1 MW of renewable, clean energy and provide many benefits to the Town of Canton, the people of Connecticut, and the environment
Rocky Hill, Conn. (July 8, 2019) – The construction of a 1 megawatt (MW) hydroelectric facility at the Upper Collinsville Dam on the Farmington River in Canton is resuming after the closing of the construction loans, according to the project’s developer, Canton Hydro, LLC. The project is the result of significant expertise and innovation from many stakeholders, including the Town of Canton, The Provident Bank, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), and the Connecticut Green Bank. Once operational, the facility is projected to generate an average 4.3 million kWh of clean energy and save 3.2 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, while preserving a historic powerhouse, enhancing public safety features, and revitalizing aquatic habitat by allowing fish to swim upstream for spawning for the first time since 1867.
“Hydro projects like this one in Canton are very exciting for Connecticut,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank. “Although these projects require significant work and coordination, they provide a great example of how the Green Bank’s public-private partnership model works to leverage capital, revitalize Connecticut’s environmental infrastructure, and produce clean energy for years to come.”
This project is the culmination of more than a decade of efforts, including the drafting of the Collinsville Renewable Energy Promotion Act (H.R. 316; Pub.L. 113–122), a U.S. public law that was introduced into the 113th United States Congress, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 30, 2014. The bill allowed the Town to take over the lapsed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licenses to refurbish two old dams. Originally constructed for hydropower that generated electricity for the former Collins Company factory, the site ceased generation in 1966. After a pre-feasibility study concluded the site could again support hydroelectric, the Town of Canton selected Canton Hydro through a competitive request for proposals.
“In addition to the generation of clean energy and reduction of carbon emissions, this hydro project will provide long-term benefits to Canton residents, the state, the environment and the wildlife,” said Canton First Selectman Beth Kandrysawtz. “Some of the other positive outcomes will be the construction of an upstream fish and eel passage, enhanced recreational possibilities due to the increased water level in the upper impoundment area, the improvement of flood control, and the creation of jobs. Not to mention the preservation of the historic powerhouse which was built in the 1930s.”
Clean Energy Through Creative Financing
The final requirement for the project was securing financing, which was accomplished through a creative partnership structure. The total project cost is approximately $6.6 million with the Green Bank providing a $1.2 million subordinate loan and $500,000 limited guaranty to leverage an approximately $4.7 million senior loan from The Provident Bank through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 Loan program. Additional equity is being provided by Canton Hydro.
“When a project has this many moving parts — environmental, economic, legislative and so on — it’s vital to have a financial partner willing to take a comprehensive approach that benefits both the client and their community,” says Dave Mansfield, CEO of The Provident Bank. “The Provident team is powered by innovation and that’s why renewable energy lending and the type of creative financing required for something such as the Upper Collinsville Dam, are not only a specialty of ours, but true passion projects.”
Redeveloping Historic Hydropower
The dam is owned by the State of Connecticut and the water rights will be leased to Canton Hydro over a 30-year period. Utilizing the state’s Virtual Net Metering program, State of Connecticut owned buildings through DEEP will benefit from the lower cost renewable energy.
“This is a terrific project that builds on Connecticut’s legacy of leadership in environmental protection and clean energy development,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “Working with the Green Bank and local developers across Connecticut, we can improve our historic dams to provide clean energy, while at the same time restoring these facilities that create opportunities for recreation and wildlife conservation, and protecting our precious water resources. The process and documentation established with this project will serve as a replicable model that can be used with other state buildings that could benefit from clean energy technologies.”
The project will use a Kaplan turbine manufactured by WWS Wasserkraft GmbH, an Austrian company with longstanding experience in the construction of high-performance hydroelectric plants smaller than 10 MW per unit. In addition to supplying the main equipment, Wasserkraft will act as the turnkey solution provider and will supervise construction. A Denil Fishway passage to support the migration of fish into the Farmington River will be installed along with a new low-level fish guidance barrier to prevent fish swimming towards the primary spillway and guide them directly to the entrance of the upstream fish passage.
“This project is a truly innovative approach to the redevelopment of a hydropower plant in Connecticut,” said Mariana Cardenas Trief, clean energy finance consultant to the Green Bank. “The capital stack displays a creative blend of public funding, from sources like the Green Bank and the SBA 504 Loan program, and private investment from Provident.”
About Canton Hydro LLC
Canton Hydro was established in 2015 for the purposed of the redevelopment of the Upper Collinsville Hydro facility by a group of architects, engineers and investors passionate about revitalizing hydro power assets and preserving historic structures while improving the aquatic habitat. For more information, please visit www.cantonhydro.com.
About The Provident Bank
The Provident Bank, a subsidiary of Provident Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: PVBC), is an innovative, commercial bank that finds solutions for our business and private clients. We are committed to strengthening the economic development of the regions we serve, by working closely with businesses and private clients and delivering superior products and high-touch services to meet their banking needs. The Provident has offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. All deposits are insured in full through a combination of insurance provided by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Depositors Insurance Fund (DIF).