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EGEE 438 - Wind and Hydropower Energy Conversion

This is a sample syllabus.

This sample syllabus is a representative example of the information and materials included in this course. Information about course assignments, materials, and dates listed here is subject to change at any time. Definitive course details and materials will be available in the official course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


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.


Students who excel in this course are 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.

Required Materials

The materials listed here represent those that may be included in this course. Students will find a definitive list in the course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


The following materials are available in digital format through the Penn State Library.


TopHat (no charge)


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).


I have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. In one sense online and hybrid classes are no different than a traditional college class: how much and how well you learn is ultimately up to you. On average, most students spend eight to ten hours per week working on course assignments. 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.

Major Assignments

Homework Assignments (15% of total course grade)

Algorithmic-based Homework Assignments (8 in total, drop lowest grade)

Mid-Term Exams (45% of total course grade)

There will be 2, timed mid-term exams

Project (25% of total course grade)

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. 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
  • Preliminary written project report
  • Final project report
  • Project Presentation

Quizzes (10% of total course grade)

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% of total course grade)

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.

Course Schedule

Course Schedule
1Lesson 1: Wind Industry
  • Quiz 1
  • Lesson 1 Discussion
2Lesson 2a: The Wind Resource (a)
  • Quiz 2 + Discussion 2
  • Lesson 2 HW + Mini-Project 
  • Assignment 1
3Lesson 2b: The Wind Resource (b)
  • Quiz 2 + Discussion 2
  • Lesson 2 HW + Mini-Project 
  • Assignment 1
4Lesson 3: Energy & Economic Analysis
  • Quiz 3 + Discussion 3
  • Lesson 3 HW + Mini-Project 
  • Assignment 2
5Lesson 4 (a): Wind Turbine Aerodynamics 
  • Quiz 4 + Discussion 4
  • Lesson 4 HW + Mini-Project Assignment 3
  • Exam 1 will cover Lessons 1-4
6Lesson 4 (b): Wind Turbine Aerodynamics
  • Quiz 4 + Discussion 4
  • Lesson 4 HW + Mini-Project Assignment 3
  • Exam 1 will cover Lessons 1-4
7Lesson 5: Project Development and Environmental Impacts
  • Quiz 5 + Discussion 5
  • Lesson 5 HW
  • Kickoff Final Project
8Lesson 6 (a): Hydroelectric Dams
  • Quiz 6 + Discussion 6
  • Lesson 6  HW
9Lesson 6 (b): Hydroelectric Dams
  • Quiz 6 + Discussion 6
  • Lesson 6  HW
10Lesson 7: Tidal/Hydrokinetic Power
  • Quiz 7 + Discussion 7
  • Lesson 7 HW
11Lesson 8: Wave Power
  • Quiz 8 + Discussion 8
  • Lesson 8 HW
  • Exam 2 will cover Lessons 5 - 8
  • Project Report & Presentation