Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Geography and Geosciences

Degree Program

Geography (Applied), MS

Committee Chair

Day, C. Andrew

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Howarth, David

Committee Member

Howarth, David

Committee Member

Unthank, Michael

Author's Keywords

GIS; coal; hydropower; renewable energy; eastern Kentucky


Coal has a questionable future with the potential exhaustion of available coal. Alternate sources of energy production should be considered, such as hydropower dams, or the more environmentally friendly, Run of River (RoR) hydropower system. This study seeks to answer the question: What is the potential for RoR hydroelectric systems in Eastern Kentucky counties with significant decreases in coal production and employment? I hypothesize that GIS will identify suitable sites within Pike County for RoR systems. Site suitability for Eastern Kentucky was assessed and determined that Pike County did not have a suitable physical environment for RoR systems. The power generation was too low for efficient use. Future studies could expand the research into other locations, focusing on watersheds with the most potential. With appropriate landscape requirements, RoR systems have a smaller environmental impact than traditional dams, and potential for economic benefit from producing jobs and energy supply.