Conduit Hydropower

What is it?

Conduit Hydropower is used to produce power in cities and towns using water and sewer mains where water is already flowing. The existing pipes are outfitted with electric generating equipment to turn the water into clean power. 



This new technology allows towns and cities to use existing tunnels, canals, pipelines, aqueducts and other manmade structures that carry water to generate electricity. Pipes that already have water running through them, like water mains, are fitted with electric generating equipment. This often eliminates any need for a large dam or reservoir.

Conduit projects are efficient because they run all the time that the water is flowing, making them cost-effective and environmentally friendly. They are able to generate electricity from existing water flows, exploit synergies with infrastructure already in place and often require less capital investment.

Conduit hydropower is also resilient and local, and can help towns control their energy costs. 

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection have resources and grants to help towns implement conduit hydropower projects. MCAN can help you connect with these resources and start a project in your town! Email us at to find out more. 


Success Story: Portland, Oregon

A start-up in Portland, Oregon has successfully created a 200 kW hydropower plant on a Portland Water Bureau pipeline. The Conduit 3 Hydroelectric Project is the first conduit hydropower project in the United States to receive a 20-year power purchase agreement for in-pipe hydropower in a municipal pipeline. Water inside the pipeline turns 42" turbines, creating electricity which is then purchased by Portland General Electric. The system provides local, renewable energy, and does not cause any negative environment impact or affect drinking water.

Read more about Portland’s project here:


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