Local, Renewable, and Reliable
Do you ever consider where your electricity comes from? Does it matter to you how it is produced, or what footprint it leaves on the environment? When you turn on your lights or when you reach into your refrigerator, do you appreciate that the electricity is there reliably whenever you need it?
Great River Hydro produces approximately 1.6 terawatt hours of electricity every year, which is roughly 23% of all the electricity produced by conventional hydropower facilities throughout New England. But our power is more than just the electricity we produce – our power is found in the wide array of qualities and attributes that are associated with that electricity, the rich history and deep connection to the communities where we operate, the conserved land and recreational resources we provide, and the people who make our company hum. Explore what makes Great River Hydro’s power truly unique.
Critical & Essential
Power outages can be more than inconvenient. Blackouts are the worst of such scenarios, where large scale grid failures can cause massive disruptions and potentially loss of life. Hydropower is essential to restarting the grid because it can harness gravity and flowing water to re-start, whereas other generation methods require power – like jump starting a car.
During the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in New England, careful planning throughout the energy industry was in place to ensure essential power continued to flow to power the electric grid, including facilities supporting first responders and other essential services. Great River Hydro’s facilities maintain the same capabilities to restart the grid as they did during the last blackout that darkened New England in 1965.
We all value reliable, plentiful, and environmentally sustainable power. However, the quality of that power is often overlooked, such as steady voltage and other attributes that modern society and high-tech industry require. Great River Hydro’s fleet provides critical services to ensure grid operators can deliver the highest-quality power supply.
Responding to Demand
Electricity demands shift by the minute, so energy generation must be able to rapidly adjust to meet the shifting demand.
New England is comprised of many different types of generators. Some, like large nuclear and fossil fuel plants, take very long between startup and full capacity. Others, like wind and solar, are either on or off dependent upon weather conditions.
Great River Hydro’s facilities can turn on or off at a moment’s notice, and can be up to full power within 10 minutes. This capability is especially important as more variable renewables come online.
Partner to Protect the Environment
Great River Hydro works closely with environmental agencies and organizations to protect habitats and resource values along the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers through operational agreements, cooperative ventures, and direct charitable contributions.
Infrastructure and Property Protector
Hydro dams and reservoirs can provide secondary benefits to flood-prone areas downstream during severe weather events or seasonal conditions. Operational preparation allows hydro reservoirs to capture portions of flows for later release, thus lessening the impacts on downstream communities, property, and infrastructure.
In 2019, northern New England experienced an intense spring thaw beginning with a record-setting snowpack, days of record-setting high temperatures, and intense rains. Great River Hydro’s reservoirs filled when flows were highest and released when flows subsided, lessening downstream effects.
Great River Hydro is a strong supporter of local economies. From significant tax payments, to direct support of socially responsible programs, to being a local source of employment, to providing important recreation resources for local tourism, Great River Hydro is a valued investor in the communities where we operate.
Great River Hydro’s Vernon Station came online in 1909 at the dawn of commercial electrification, and our other facilities have been in service for nearly as long. Hydropower has far outlasted any other type of power resource, having done so in a carbon-free, renewable manner for more than a century.
Feel the Power of Great River Hydro
The number of homes Great River Hydro can
power each year
The amount of carbon dioxide emissions displaced each year through hydropower generated by Great River Hydro
The capacity of renewable power, making Great River Hydro the largest conventional hydro system in New England
The size of Harriman Reservoir, making it the largest lake of any kind contained entirely within Vermont's borders
The number of river miles that make up
the Great River Hydro network
The length of Moore Dam, the largest of its kind in New England and powering the largest conventional hydropower station in New England
The amount of mostly conserved land that Great River Hydro owns and allows the public to explore supporting local tourism and the economy
Tens of Thousands of Dollars
The amount of money donated annually to local organizations and causes important to our operations and employees
The number of local residents working as employees or contractors for Great River Hydro