Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2012

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Electrical and Computer Engineering

Program or Major

Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Allen Drake


The popularity of green and renewable energy has risen sharply in recent years, and hydropower has consistently been the most common form of renewable energy in both the US and the state of New Hampshire. As a result of this strong green movement, government organizations have seen increased pressure to produce figures to the public detailing the amount of hydropower potentially available in the country. Often these figures will depict very attractive numbers for the untapped hydropower potential in the country, yet the data do not seem realistic to anyone familiar with hydropower generation. This paper will attempt to de-rate these general estimates made for hydropower potential by government organizations, specifically in New Hampshire. It will be determined if these parties are ignoring basic hydropower design challenges in their estimations, such as system efficiency, generator capacity factors, and the economic feasibility of the projects themselves. These results should reveal the inaccuracies (if any) of the estimates by the government groups. To analyze the general feasibility of hydropower projects in New Hampshire, three case studies in hydropower system design will be examined.