EGEE 438
Wind and Hydropower Energy Conversion

EGEE 438 Syllabus


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 Stewart


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

  • 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: Tues 9:00 - 11 am  and Thur 10 am - 12 pm in 233E Hammond (if you need to meet remotely, just send an email and let me know, we can use the zoom link above).
  • Communications: I will check for and reply to messages at least once a day during the week (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. 

NOTE: I will read and respond to e-mail 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! 


Course Overview

Location:  358 Willard, Tues/Thur 12:05 - 1:20 PM

Prerequisites: EGEE 302: Principles of Energy Engineering and EME 303: Fluid Mechanics in Energy and Mineral Engineering (please reach out with questions about whether you are prepared to take this course without these prerequisites)

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 and verbal 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.)

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.  

Energy Resources & Systems Volume 2: Renewable Resources, by Ghosh & Prelas.  2011.:

Fundamentals and Applications of Renewable Energy, by Kanoğly, Ҫengel and Cimbala, 2020.

Look these titles up on the PSU Library website in Lion Search and look for the "Full text online" link if the links above do not work.  You may need to be logged in to your PSU account via the library.


We may use TopHat, freely available through Canvas, for in-class surveys and participation.

Assignments and Grading

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

Homework Assignments (15 %)

  • Algorithmic-based Homework Assignments (8 in total, drop lowest grade)
    • 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 problems in the course website. There is no time limit once you start entering your responses, just a due date. You will be able to enter your answers into the course web site and get a graded response.  You will have 5 chances to work these problems.  Each time you start over you will get new numbers to work with.  The highest grade will be what counts. 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.

Mid-Term Exams (45%)

  • There will be 2, timed mid-term exams, taken during class time. See the Calendar in Canvas for specific dates.
  • There is no final exam.

Project (25%)

  • The project for the semester will have several components, some are graded individually and some will be team based.
    • In the first half of the semester, a few mini-project assignments using wind data sets will be collected via Canvas. 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).
    • In the second half of the semester, an instructor defined team project assignment will require the application of concepts learned throughout the semester.  CATME will be used to both form teams as well as assess team effectiveness.
      • Deliverables for the final team project include:
        • CATME participation (part of participation grade)
        • Preliminary written project report
        • Final project report
        • Project Presentation

Quizzes (10%)

  • There will be 8 in total. Nominally, Canvas based quizzes will have 10 questions and you can only complete the quiz once, but you have 30 min to do so. The lowest quiz score will be dropped.

Participation (5%)

  • Participation will be graded based on submission of TopHat in-class polls, CATME polls for project team work, as well as participation in class and discussion boards in Canvas.

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 if solutions are posted).

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.

Graded Activities
Activity Percent
Quizzes (drop lowest) 10%
Homework Assignments (drop lowest) 15%
2 Exams 45%
Project (3 mini projects + final project) 25%
Participation 5%
Total 100%

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.

Grade Percentages
Activity Percent
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)

Course Schedule

imagePrintable 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.

EGEE 438 Course Schedule
Lessons Tasks
Lesson 1: Wind Industry Quiz 1
Lesson 1 Disscussion
Lesson 2: The Wind Resource (split up into 2a & 2b across 2-weeks)

Quiz 2 + Discussion 2
Lesson 2 HW + Mini-Project Assignment 1

Lesson 3: Energy & Economic Analysis Quiz 3 + Discussion 3
Lesson 3 HW + Mini-Project Assignment 2
Lesson 4: Wind Turbine Aerodynamics (split up into 4a & 4b across 2-weeks) Quiz 4 + Discussion 4
Lesson 4 HW + Mini-Project Assignment 3
Exam 1 will cover Lessons 1-4
Lesson 5: Project Development and Environmental Impacts

Quiz 5 + Discussion 5
Lesson 5 HW

Kickoff Final Project

Lesson 6: Hydroelectric Dams ( (split up into 6a & 6b across 2-weeks) Quiz 6 + Discussion 6
Lesson 6  HW
Lesson 7: Tidal/Hydrokinetic Power

Quiz 7 + Discussion 7
Lesson 7 HW

Lesson 8: Wave Power

Quiz 8 + Discussion 8
Lesson 8 HW

Exam 2 will cover Lessons 5 - 8

Project Report & Presentation


Tips for Success in EGEE 438

  • Participate—Use the cclass time 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. In class there will be some time to work together to solve problems and ask questions, thus providing the oppportunity 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.

Course Policies

Technical Requirements

For this course, we recommend the minimum technical requirements outlined on the World Campus Technical Requirements page, including the requirements listed for same-time, synchronous communications. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the IT Service Desk.

Internet Connection

Access to a reliable Internet connection is required for this course. A problem with your Internet access may not be used as an excuse for late, missing, or incomplete coursework. If you experience problems with your Internet connection while working on this course, it is your responsibility to find an alternative Internet access point, such as a public library or Wi-Fi ® hotspot.


This course must be viewed using the latest version of Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or Edge. Internet Explorer is not supported. If you use any other browser, or if you are not using the latest version of your browser, some pages containing equations may not render properly. In addition, javascript must be enabled for equations to render properly. If you have any issues with equations not rendering properly, please update your browser to the latest version or try using a different browser. If you need additional technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the HelpDesk (for World Campus students) or the IT Service Desk (for students at all other campus locations).

Penn State E-mail Accounts

All official communications from Penn State are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. 

According to Penn State policy  G-9: Academic Integrity, an academic integrity violation is “an intentional, unintentional, or attempted violation of course or assessment policies to gain an academic advantage or to advantage or disadvantage another student academically.” Unless your instructor tells you otherwise, you must complete all course work entirely on your own, using only sources that have been permitted by your instructor, and you may not assist other students with papers, quizzes, exams, or other assessments. If your instructor allows you to use ideas, images, or word phrases created by another person (e.g., from Course Hero or Chegg) or by generative technology, such as ChatGPT, you must identify their source. You may not submit false or fabricated information, use the same academic work for credit in multiple courses, or share instructional content. Students with questions about academic integrity should ask their instructor before submitting work.

Students facing allegations of academic misconduct may not drop/withdraw from the affected course unless they are cleared of wrongdoing (see G-9: Academic Integrity). Attempted drops will be prevented or reversed, and students will be expected to complete coursework and meet course deadlines. Students who are found responsible for academic integrity violations face academic outcomes, that can be severe, and put themselves at jeopardy for other outcomes which may include ineligibility for the Dean's List, pass/fail elections, and grade forgiveness. Students may also face consequences from their home/major program and/or The Schreyer Honors College.

Please also see Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Procedures, which this course adopts. To learn more, see Penn State’s “Academic Integrity Training for Students.

Course Copyright

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note-Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws. For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources (SDR) website provides the contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources website.

To receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. See Student Disability Resources: Applying for Services. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Change in Normal Campus Operations

In case of weather-related delays or other emergency campus disruptions or closures at the University, this online course will proceed as planned. Your instructor will inform you if there are any extenuating circumstances regarding content or activity due dates in the course due to these delays or closures. If you are affected by a weather-related emergency, please contact your instructor at the earliest possible time to make special arrangements.

Reporting Educational Equity Concerns

Penn State takes great pride in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated (Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance) and can be reported through Educational Equity via Report Bias.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing.  The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings.  These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.  Services include the following: 

Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park  (CAPS): 814-863-0395
Counseling Services at Commonwealth Campuses
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741

Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Connect Online with Caution

Penn State is committed to educational access for all. Our students come from all walks of life and have diverse life experiences. As with any other online community, the lack of physical interaction in an online classroom can create a false sense of anonymity and security. While one can make new friends online, digital relationships can also be misleading. Good judgment and decision-making are critical when choosing to disclose personal information with others whom you do not know. 

Deferred Grades

If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time for reasons that are beyond your control, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor, following Penn State Deferred Grade Policy 48-40. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to the instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. Non-emergency permission for filing a deferred grade must be requested before the beginning of the final examination period.  It is up to the instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If permission is granted, you will work with the instructor to establish a communication plan and a clear schedule for completion within policy.  If, for any reason, the coursework for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.


This course will be conducted entirely online. There will be no set class meeting times, but you will be required to complete weekly assignments with specific due dates. Many of the assignments are open for multiple days, so it is your responsibility to complete the work early if you plan to travel or participate in national holidays, religious observances, or university-approved activities.  If you need to request an exception due to a personal or medical emergency, contact the instructor directly as soon as you are able. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. Changes to the syllabus shall be given to you in written (paper or electronic) form.