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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Potential hydroelectric energy estimation from limited data for run-of-river hydroelectric plants Burton, Brent Lance


The estimation of the energy that will be produced by a proposed hydroelectric project, while obviously an essential component of any project feasibility analysis, is typically one of the more imprecise details associated with the investigation. The interpolated historical flow data used for any analysis is usually approximate, yet precise calculations of estimated energy are often conducted using this data. The objective of this thesis was to develop a computer program that directly takes into account the judgment of an experienced engineer in the estimation of potential energy output from a run-of-river hydroelectric plant when there is little.or no flow data at the site in question.. , The program requires the user to provide estimated curves of the annual energy, expressed as a percentage of the theoretical maximum energy, versus design flow expressed as a percentage of the mean annual flow; the user is also required to enter low, probable and high estimates of the mean annual flow. The program will create two additional estimates: a low-probable and a probable-high. The program will then look up the corresponding energy for each value of the mean annual flow from the graph provided by the user; it will also calculate and look up the corresponding standard deviation. Then, for a variety of design flows, the program will utilize a standard five by five normalized probability matrix derived from the normal distribution to calculate the mean value of the percentage of the theoretical maximum energy and the standard deviation of this value; this will be accomplished by multiplying the matrix of five energies and five standard deviations by the probability matrix. The range of design flows and the step between design flows is chosen by the user. The results of the program are compared with accurate results from stations with known hydrological data.

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