Department or Program

Environmental Studies


Urban energy systems are critical to mitigating and adapting to climate change. Cities demand massive amounts of both heat and electricity, but conventional methods of creating this energy release large amounts of pollutants and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Effectively addressing climate change requires that these energy systems be transitioned to low-carbon alternatives as quickly as possible. Hybrid distributed renewable energy systems can be implemented within the urban framework to produce local renewable energy efficiently and affordably. The proposed system, composed of multiple types of small renewable energy generators located around the city, provides significant reductions in energy cost and greenhouse gas emissions, increases the stability of the local electrical supply, hardens the grid to physical and cyber-attacks, and generates income for the city. This study identifies four types of renewable heat and energy generators suitable to the urban environment of Lewiston, a small city in central Maine. Solar, microhydropower, and conduit hydropower are considered for energy generation, and air-source heat pumps and electric resistance heaters are suggested as ways to sustainably produce heat. The hybrid distributed renewable energy system modeled in the paper can completely heat and power the city’s residential buildings and more than cover our commercial electricity usage at a cost significantly lower than current energy prices and with 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than our baseline energy use. This paper proves that updating urban energy infrastructure is both a feasible and necessary step towards lowering energy costs and fighting climate change.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Smedley, John

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 PDF file

Open Access

Available to all.