Hydro Facilities - Information and History

In the mid eighteen hundreds, the Kesslen Shoe Factory was the largest employer in the Town of Kennebunk.  Located in the heart of downtown beside the Mousam River, the factory obtained the power to operate pulleys and conveyor belts from a water wheel powered by the river.  In 1893, the Town purchased the turbine rights at the Kesslen Shoe Factory.  This purchase provided the necessary cash flow for the shoe factory to remain in business and started the municipally owned electric light department.
Over the years, the Kennebunk Light & Power District acquired two more factory sites on the river that had timber and dirt dams and water powered turbines.  In the mid 1980s the District updated the Kesslen turbine and dam, removed and replaced both dams at the other sites - Twine Mill and Dane Perkins - and upgraded the turbines at those sites.  The three dams were licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to Kennebunk Light & Power District.  That license expires in March of 2022.
KLPD's Board of Trustees has decided not to pursue a subsequent FERC license upon expiration of the current one.  America First Hydro, an entity separate from KLPD, has filed a pre-application document with the FERC to potentially secure a future license.  As of 2019, no formal license application has been submitted.
Interested parties are encouraged to peruse the multitude of documents and videos available on KLPD's hydro facilities.  If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the General Manager, Todd Shea, at (207) 985-3311 or tshea@klpd.org.
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