Hydropower Homework Assignments

EGEE 438 - Wind and Hydropower Energy Conversion

This syllabus is divided into several sections. You can read it sequentially by scrolling down the length of the document or by clicking on any of the links below to “jump” to a specific section. It is essential that you read the entire document as well as material covered in the course Orientation. Together these serve as our course "contract."


Dr. Susan W. Stewart
Associate Teaching Professor, Aerospace Engineering
Office: 233E Hammond (inside the Aerospace Engineering Suite)

College of Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University

  • E-mail: Please use the course e-mail system (see the Inbox tab in Canvas). This is the best way to reach me at all times.
  • Office Hours: Wed 10 am - 12 pm 233E Hammond
  • Communications: I will check for and reply to messages at least once a day (often as they are received when I am able). Please contact me to make an appointment if you’d like to speak to me at a given time outside of office hours.  I typically have my days planned out to meet deadlines so I appreciate advanced notice.

NOTE: I will read and respond to e-mail and discussion forums at least once per day during the work week (Monday through Friday). You may see me online occasionally on the weekends, but please don't count on it!


Usgal Zandanbal (ukz5000@psu.edu), Office hours Thur 10 AM - 12 PM, 111 Hosler

Haoming (Steven) Ma (hfm5076@psu.edu), Office hours Wed 1:30- 3:30 pm, 228 Hosler

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Course Overview

Prerequisites: EGEE 302: Principles of Energy Engineering and EME 303: Fluid Mechanics in Energy and Mineral Engineering

Students who do not meet these prerequisites may be dis‐enrolled during the first 10‐day free add‐drop period after being informed in writing by the instructor (see: C-5: Enforcement of recommended preparation and prerequisite, concurrent, co-requisite).

If you have not completed the listed prerequisites, then promptly consult with the instructor if you have not done so already. Students who re‐enroll after being dis‐enrolled according to this policy are in violation of Item 15 on the Student Code of Conduct.

This course examines the principles of sustainability and renewable energy conversion with emphasis on wind and hydro energy resources. Concentration is placed on the relationships between the renewable resources, conversion technology and economic feasibility along with consideration of the associated risks and environmental impacts. Students will understand both the principles of operation and the application of wind and hydropower technologies in an evolving energy economy. It will complement existing courses on fossil fuel and solar energy conversion. Students will actively participate in learning through team projects and classroom based problem sessions. This is a required course in the energy engineering major and may serve as an elective to other engineering majors.

Course Topics

  • Overview of Renewable Energy: Comparisons with conventional technologies, generation and transmission of electricity basics, concepts of dispatchability and peak vs. base load, and economics.
  • Wind Power: Resource assessment, power, and energy calculations, aerodynamic analysis, development of the Betz limit, design limitations and optimization, and environmental impact of wind energy conversion devices.
  • Water power: Technology overview of conventional hydropower, in-stream hydrokinetics (river/ocean current and tidal power), wave power, resource assessment, power and energy calculations, hydraulic efficiency of turbine operation, design issues, and environmental impact.
  • Applied Energy System Analysis: Applying the principles learned from the previous segments to a site specific application.

Toward these objectives, students who successfully complete EGEE 438 will be able to:

  1. Apply principles of mathematics, science, and engineering to the analysis of wind and hydropower technologies and their application.
  2. Determine wind and water power resource siting requirements for project development.
  3. Calculate and assess how the design of renewable energy technologies and the resulting economics can drive their implementation.
  4. Integrate the considerations of economic, environmental, sustainability, health and safety, social, and political factors in the analysis of a wind or water power technology application.
  5. Participate effectively in independent and team-based problem-solving.
  6. Analyze and communicate information through written presentation of findings.

What I Expect of You

On average, most students spend eight to ten hours per week working on course assignments. Your workload may be more or less depending on your study habits.

I have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. The Internet may still be a novel learning environment for you, but in one sense it is no different than a traditional college class: how much and how well you learn is ultimately up to you. You will succeed if you are diligent about keeping up with the class schedule and if you take advantage of opportunities to communicate with me, as well as with your fellow students. We will meet less frequently because of the time you will spend out of class reviewing the material online. The time we do spend in class will be focused on active learning/problem solving, discussion, and project work.

Specific learning objectives are detailed within each lesson.

Integrity Policy

Honesty, integrity, equity, timeliness, regular attendance, participation, and hard work are keys to professionalism and success. This course adopts the Academic Integrity Policy of the College of Earth and Mineral Science.Any breach of academic integrity will be handled according to the procedures outlined in the College's policy.

Academic integrity includes "a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception." In particular, the University defines plagiarism as "the fabrication of information and citations; submitting other's work from professional journals, books, articles, and papers; submission of other student's papers, lab results or project reports and representing the work as one's own." Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include course failure. To learn more, see Penn State's "Plagiarism Tutorial for Students." I cannot overemphasize the importance of academic integrity. DO NOT copy and paste from unreferenced sources. Without exception: if you use a direct quote from any source, as part of any submitted assignment, the quote must be clearly noted and properly referenced. (In-line references are fine.)

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Required Course Materials

All materials needed for this course are presented online through our course website, in Canvas, or they will be available in digital format through the Penn State Library. Two reference texts, in particular, are listed below. In order to access all materials, you need to have an active Penn State Access Account user ID and password (used to access the online course resources). If you have any questions about obtaining or activating your Penn State Access Account, please contact IT help. If you are a World Campus student please contact the World Campus Help Desk. If you are a University Park or Commonwealth Campus student, please contact the IT Service Desk.

Wind Energy Handbook, Second Edition, by Tony Burton. 2011.

Wind Energy Explained, Theory Design and Application, Second Edition, by James Manwell. 2009.

Look these titles up on the PSU Library website in Lion Search and look for the "Full text online" link. If you are already logged in, these links may work as well: Wind Energy Handbook and Wind Energy Explained (more limited checkout capability online).

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Assignments and Grading

EGEE 438 will rely upon a variety of methods to assess and evaluate student learning, including:

Homework Assignments are broken up into two grading categories, although in a single assignment there will often be a mix of these two types of problems.

  1. Algorithmic-based Homework Assignments (0%) calculation/computer based problem assignments.  These will not be collected and graded but you will see a related problem from these assignments on the quiz associated with the next lesson.
  • The problems will be provided in variable format– thus the specific values of the variables will be different for each student, provided when you go to answer the problem in the course website. You will be able to enter your answers into the course web site and get a graded response.  You can rework the problems as many times as you wish. While I understand you may collaborate on these problems to some degree, individual effort is highly recommended for these problems, as it will only hurt you on the quizzes and exams to not understand the methodology for these problems.

2. Spreadsheet and/or Discussion based Homework Assignments (20%)

  • Assignments will be collected via a Canvas discussion forum or dropbox.
  • Submitted assignments should be clearly legible (typewritten preferred), include the original assignment statement, assumptions, clear description of the methodology and answers highlighted (where applicable) with proper units (points will be deducted for errors in units).
  • Late assignments will only be accepted if requested before the due date! The length of the extension will be determined on a case by case basis and will incur a minimum of 10%grade reduction on the assignment (absolutely no credit will be provided once solutions are posted).

3. Mid-Term Exam (20%). This will be an evening exam, closed book, closed notes – 1 sheet allowed, submitted with exam. Calculator allowed.

4. Final Exam (20%).During finals week, closed book, closed notes – 1 sheet allowed, submitted with exam. Calculator allowed.

5. Project (17%) - An instructor defined project assignment will require the application of concepts learned throughout the semester. A preliminary written project report and a final report as well as an individual statement of effort will be deliverables for this project.

6. Participation in Class and Canvas discussion forum (3%) -  as the course will be conducted partially online, we will make use of the discussion forum for interaction and Q&A.  Each student should aim to regularly ask or answer questions in the forum.  Active in-class participation will also count towards this requirement.  Attendance may also be taken during the in-class project team meeting sessions.  Points will be awarded for posting in the Q&A discussion forum and submitting the final individual evaluation of the final project assessment of team effort.

7. Quizzes (20%) - Quizzes will be given as an assessment via Canvas outside of class.  These will typically be due by midnight on the day before the in-class problem sessions. Working with others on these quizzes is strictly prohibited. The collaboration of any type on a single quiz will result in a zero in this entire category.

Due dates for all assignments are given in the Canvas schedule.  All times noted are in Eastern daylight time.

Grades are assigned by the percentage of possible points earned in each Lesson's activities, as shown below -- Updated to align with Canvas & Paper Syllabus 1/13/18.

Quizzes (drop lowest score)20%
Homework Assignments-Algorithmic0%
Homework Assignments-Spreadsheet/Discussions
(all scores used)
2 Exams20% x 2

I will use the Canvas gradebook to keep track of your grades. You can see your grades in the gradebook, too, by clicking the Grades link in our Canvas course.

A 93–100%
A- 90–92.9%
B+ 87–89.9%
B 83–86.9%
B- 80–82.9%
C+ 77–79.9%
C 70–76.9%
D 60–69.9%
F <60%
X Unsatisfactory (student did not participate)

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Course Schedule

Printable Schedule

Each lesson with tasks will take one to two weeks to complete. Enrolled students can see specific dates, times, and deadlines, in the the course schedule (syllabus tab) in Canvas.

Lesson 1: Wind IndustryQuiz 1
Lesson 1 Disscussion Board Assignment
Lesson 2: The Wind ResourceQuiz 2
Lesson 2 Spreadsheet Assignment (graded) + Algorithmic Problems (not submitted)
Lesson 3: Energy & Economic AnalysisQuiz 3
Lesson 3 Spreadsheet Assignment (graded) + Algorithmic Problems (not submitted)
Lesson 4: Wind Turbine AerodynamicsQuiz 4
Lesson 4 Spreadsheet Assignment (graded) + Algorithmic Problems (not submitted)
Lesson 5: Project Development and Environmental ImpactsQuiz 5
Midterm Exam
Lesson 6: Hydroelectric DamsQuiz 6
Lesson 6 TBD + Algorithmic Problems (not submitted)
Lesson 7: Tidal/Hydrokinetic Power

Quiz 7
Lesson 7 TBD + Algorithmic Problems (not submitted)

Project Report

Lesson 8: Wave Power

Quiz 8
Lesson 8 TBD + Algorithmic Problems (not submitted)

Final Exam


Tips for Success in EGEE 438

  • Participate—Odd as it seems, in many ways, an online environment gives us greater opportunity to get to know one other and exchange ideas, challenges, and interesting thoughts. Use the course Discussion Forums to get to know one another, work together, learn from one another, and even have a laugh. It’s a special opportunity. You’ll learn more, enjoy the course more, and probably make a better grade.
  • Do the work on time—Activities are the learning assessment tools for this course. In this class, it won’t work to wait three weeks and then cram for an exam. The designated Discussion Forums provide a place where you can work together to surface problems and questions and give me the chance to redirect or provide additional information if needed. I strongly advise not waiting until the last minute to start assignments. Give yourself time to ask, think, and interact with me and your classmates.
  • Be responsible and honest—I’m glad you’re taking this course and hope it is a rewarding experience for you with long-lasting benefits. Let’s keep it a good thing. Please review our course policy on Academic Integrity described above. Treat yourself, your classmates, and the instructor with honesty and respect at all times. I'll do the same.

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Course Policies

2.2. Hydro-electric Power Plant

2.2.1. Classification

Hydro-electric power stations may be classified as follows:

A. According to availability of head

1. High head power plants

2. Medium head power plants

3. Low head power plants.

B. According to the nature of load

1. Base load plants

2. Peak load plants ..

C. According to the quantity of water available

1. Run-of-river plant without pondage

2. Run-or-river plant with pondage

3. Storage type plants

4. Pump storage plants

5. Mini and micro-hydel plants.

A.According to Availability of Head;

The following figures give a rough idea of the heads under which the various types of plants work:

(i)                           High head power plants …… 100 m and above

(ii)                        Medium head power plants …… 30 to 500

(iii)                      Low head power plants …… 25 to 80 m.

Note. It may be noted that figures given above overlap each other. Therefore it is difficult to classify the plants directly on the basis of head alone. The basis, therefore, technically adopted is the specific speed of the turbine used for a particular plant.

1. High head power plants;

Water is usually stored up in lakes on high mountains during the rainy season or during the season when the snow melts. The rate of flow should be such that water can last throughout the year.

Fig. 2 shows high head power plant layout. Surplus water discharged by the spillway cannot endanger the stability of the main dam by erosion because they are separated. The tunnel through the mountain has a surge chamber excavated near the exit. Flow is controlled by head gates at the tunnel intake, butterfly valves at the top of the penstocks, and gate valves at the turbines. This type of site might also be suitable for an underground station. 

Fig. 2. High head power plant layout. The main dam, spillway, and power
house stand at widely separated locations. Water flows from the reservoir
through a tunnel and penstock to the turbines.


The Pelton wheel is the common prime-mover used in high head power plants.


2. Medium head power plants:


Refer Fig. 3. This type of plant commonly uses Francis turbines. The forebay provided at the beginning of the penstock serves as water reservoir. In such plants, the water is generally carried in 

Fig. 3. Medium head power plant layout.


open canals from main reservoir to the forebay and then to the powerhouse through the penstock. The forebay itself works as a surge tank in this plant.


3. Low head power plants:


Refer Fig. 4. These plants usually consist of a dam across a river. A sideway stream diverges from the river at the dam. Over this stream the power house is constructed. Later this channel joins the river further downstream. This type of plant uses vertical shaft Francis turbine or Kaplan turbine. 

Fig. 4. Low head power plant layout.


B. According to the Nature of Load:


1. Base load plants:


The plants which cater for the base load of the system are called base load plants. These plants are required to supply a constant power when connected to the grid. Thus they run without stop and are often remote-controlled with which least staff is required for such plants. Run-of-river plants without pondage may sometimes work as base load plant, but the firm capacity in such cases will be very much less.


2. Peak load plants:


The plants which can supply the power during peak loads are known as peak load plants. Some of such plants supply the power during average load but also supply peak load as and when it is there, whereas other peak load plants are required to work during peak load hours only. The run-of-river plants may be made for the peak load by providing pondage.


C. According to the Quantity of Water Available:


  1. 1.   Run-of-river plants without pondage. A run-of-river plant without pondage, as the
    name indicates, does riot store water and uses the water as it comes. There is no control on flow of water so that during high floods or low loads water is wasted while during low run-off the plant capacity is considerably reduced. Due to non-uniformity of supply and lack of assistance from a firm capacity the utility of these plants is much less than those of other types. The head on which these plants work varies considerably. Such a plant can be made a great deal more useful by providing sufficient storage at the plant to take care of the hourly fluctuations in load. This lends Some firm capacity to the plant. During good flow conditions these plants may cater to base load of the system, when flow reduces they may supply the peak demands. Head water elevation for plant fluctuates with the flow conditions. These plants without storage may sometimes be made to supply the base load, but the firm capacity depends on the minimum flow of river. The run-of-river plant may be made for load service with pondage, though storage is usually seasonal.
  2. 2.   Run-of-river plant with pondage. Pondage usually refers to the collection of water behind a dam at the plant and increases the stream capacity for a short period, say a week. Storage mean collection of water in upstream reservoirs and this increases the capacity of the stream over an extended period of several months. Storage plants may work satisfactorily as base load and peak load plants.


This type of plant, as compared to that without pondage, is more reliable and its generating capacity is less dependent on the flow rates of water available.


  1. 3.   Storage type plants. A storage type plant is one with a reservoir of sufficiently large size to permit carry-over storage from the wet season to the dry season, and thus to supply firm flow substantially more than the minimum natural flow. This plant can be used as base load plant as well as peak load plant as water is available with control as required. The majority of hydro-electric plants are of this type.
  2. 4.   Pumped storage plants. Refer Fig. 5. Pumped storage plants are employed at the places where the quantity of water available for power generation is inadequate. Here the water passing through the turbines is stored in ‘tail race pond’. During low load periods this water is pumped back to the head reservoir using the extra energy available. This water can be again used for generating power during peak load periods. Pumping of water may be done seasonally or daily depending upon the conditions of the site and the nature of the load on the plant. 

    Fig. 5. Pumped storage plant.

    Such plants are usually interconnected with steam or diesel engine plants so that off peak capacity of interconnecting stations is used in pumping water and the same is used during peak load periods. Of course, the energy available from the quantity of water pumped by the plant is less than the energy input during pumping operation. Again while using pumped water the power available is reduced on account of losses occuring in prime-movers.




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