Hydropower on the Millers River, Athol, Massachusetts
The Millers River cuts through the heart of Athol, Massachusetts, making the town a prime site for generating hydroelectric power. A former tool manufacturing mill that began providing warehousing services and leased space in the mid 1980s uses this technology to generate green electricity for its tenants, with a surplus to sell back to the grid. There is only one problem: the river is clogged with debris, which drastically limits production of the two operating turbines. By increasing the throughput of the waterflow, LP Athol significantly increased the amount of electricity they generate. Indeed, in the spring and fall, when the water is running full-bore, the racks need to be raked every three hours to stay clear. And until recently that raking was manual. Picturesque perhaps. But back breaking and definitely not efficient.
With a loan from BlueHub Loan Fund, then known as Boston Community Capital, the family-owned L.P. Athol Corp. was able to purchase debris-removal equipment, automating the process. By increasing the throughput of the waterflow, L.P. Athol significantly increased the amount of electricity they generate.
Cindy Hartwell, head of New Business Development at L.P. Athol Corps, said of the project, “OR FoodEx became our tenant because we are able to provide hydropower. That economical power means they can expand their business, generating jobs, which is critical to Athol and the surrounding communities.”