Methodology for the large-scale assessment of small hydroelectric potential: Application to the Province of New Brunswick (Canada)

Publication year: 2011
Source: Renewable Energy, Volume 36, Issue 11, November 2011, Pages 2940-2950

Jean-François, Cyr , Mathieu, Landry , Yves, Gagnon

The mapping of the small hydropower (SHP) resource over a given territory is indispensable to identify suitable sites for the development of SHP renewable energy projects. In this study, a straightforward method to map the SHP potential over a large territory is presented. The methodology uses a synthetic hydro network (SHN) created from digital elevation models (DEM) to ensure precise hydro head estimations. From the SHN, hydro heads are calculated by subtracting the minimum from the maximum elevation of synthetic stream segments. Subsequently, stream segments with low hydro heads over a specified maximum distance are removed. Finally, the method uses…

 Highlights: ► A method to map the small hydropower (SHP) potential over a large territory. ► General methodology that needs only a few variables to perform a SHP study. ► Can evaluate the SHP for both conventional and run-of-river configurations. ► Fast and cost-effective methodology when implemented using GIS-based software. ► An application of the method is made to the province of New Brunswick, Canada.