Spring 2023 - SEE 476 D100

Special Topics in Sustainable Energy Engineering (3)

Renewable Energy Systems

Class Number: 6462

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Mon, 8:30–10:20 a.m.

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Wed, 8:30–9:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 23, 2023
    Sun, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Permission of the undergraduate curriculum chair.



Special topics in sustainable energy engineering. Students may repeat this course for further credit under a different topic.


For Spring 2023 only, SEE 476 will focus on renewable energy systems and their grid interfacing technologies. The class will learn about wind, solar, tidal, hydrogen fuel cells and hydroelectric energy conversion systems, their grid interfacing technologies and economics of distributed generation. Some of the systems are explored in more details through experiments as well as the course project.


Intended Learning Outcomes                           

At the successful completion of SEE 476, students are expected to be able to: 

  1. Describe the operation principles of conventional steam-cycle power plants, the differences in their Carnot efficiency and function in the power system as baseload, intermediate or peaking power plants
  2. Describe the operation principles of major renewable energy systems, including wind, solar, hydro, tidal and Hydrogen fuel cells
  3. Identify different wind turbine classes, compare their power tracking system and determine the type of power conditioning interface they require based on their generator type and speed control mechanism
  4. Estimate the wind energy density of a site based on its historic wind data for Weibull and non-Weibull wind profiles, and modify the wind power estimates based on the type of site train, turbine tower height and site topography.
  5. Explain the difference between tidal-wave, tidal-stream and tidal-barrage energy conversion systems, and their operation principles
  6. Create a mathematical model for estimating the tidal height/speed of a given site based on its historic tidal data and astronomical frequencies
  7. Estimate the power potential of a hydro resource, explain suitability/application of different hydro-turbines, and compare their power-flow, torque-speed and power efficiency characteristics
  8. Analyze the major PV system configurations and explain the grid interconnection requirements
  9. Use the I-V characteristic curve to explain the effect of shading, temperature change and the system electrical configuration on a PV modules power output and ways of maximizing the overall array systems power  
  10. Explain the essential steps in economic calculation of a distributed resource, use load factor to characterize the cost of power, and perform payback period and rate of return calculations
  11. Design a preliminary grid-tied hybrid electric system for a small community or a residential place using one or a combination of different energy systems.



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html