RSE3241 - Hydropower - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Civil Engineering

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Jeff Walker


Dr Roger Dargaville

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


ENG2005 and (MEC2404 or CIV2263)


This unit covers all aspects of hydropower, including the fundamental physics behind energy storage in potential energy, design of hydropower systems (dam walls and reservoirs, penstock piping and tunnelling, power house design (turbine and generator), tailrace and electrical connection). The operation of hydropower stations and their influence on the integrated electrical system. The unit covers recent developments in hydropower, in particular the current trend towards more pumped hydro energy storage. Lectures will be delivered by both academic staff and industry experts who work on real-world hydropower projects.


On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Understand the physical basis behind hydropower
  2. Estimate the potential electrical energy production of a greenfield site
  3. Describe the process of designing and constructing a hydropower station.
  4. Describe the function of a hydropower station, especially the operation of the turbine and generator to vary the power output
  5. Analyse the role of a hydropower station in the electricity sector
  6. Assess the economic feasibility of a hydro (or pumped hydro) project based on CAPEX, OPEX and projected revenue


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Continuous assessment: 50%

Examination (2 hours): 50%

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the total continuous assessment component and at least 45% in the final examination component and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

2 hours lecture, 2 hours of practical classes and 8 hours of private study per week.

See also Unit timetable information