The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC) helps prepare academically diverse college students for jobs in the wind industry through real-world wind energy technology, project development, community outreach, and industry engagement experience. In this way, the CWC plays an important role in developing the skills and knowledge of the future wind energy workforce.
This June, 13 teams of college students from across the United States will showcase their wind energy achievements at the 2021 CWC. To safeguard the health of students, judges, and organizers, the event will be held virtually. Teams will use digital tools to present their work to a remote panel of judges via webinar.
The 2021 teams will compete in three contests: (1) The Turbine Prototype Contest, in which teams design and build an effective mechanical, electrical, and aerodynamic wind turbine and load design; (2) the Project Development Contest, in which teams develop a site plan and cost-of-energy analysis for a 100-megawatt wind farm; and (3) new for 2021, the Connection Creation Contest, in which teams will conduct outreach and forge stronger connections by partnering with the wind industry, their local communities, and local media outlets.
The three contests support the theme of the 2021 Collegiate Wind Competition, which challenges students to research, design, and build a turbine for deployment in highly uncertain times, with a large degree of unknown risks and delays. The 2021 challenge draws on lessons from the 2020 competition, which was also held virtually.
“Since being selected to compete, these students have been handling the risks, uncertainties, and hurdles of attending school and preparing for the competition virtually,” said Elise DeGeorge, competition manager at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which facilitates the competition on DOE’s behalf. “That’s why we are confident the 2021 teams will bring the grit and adaptability they’ve been building over the past year to this year’s competition.”
Meet the Teams
Thirteen teams will represent their colleges and universities at the 2021 competition. California State University Maritime Academy and James Madison University will defend their respective 2020 Turbine Digital Design Contest and Project Development Contest titles, while newcomers Brigham Young University, California Polytechnic State University, and Johns Hopkins University will compete for the first time. The University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Wyoming will participate as learn-along teams, which are a new feature of the 2021 competition. Learn-along teams are not eligible for awards but may submit the same deliverables and receive feedback on submitted projects from competition judges. This format allows schools to experience the competition and establish a deeper understanding of the wind industry.
Over the next few months, the 2021 teams will be busy fine-tuning their turbine designs, assessing wind farm development opportunities, engaging with their communities and the wind industry, and practicing their presentations as they prepare for the virtual competition.
Get to know the 2021 teams and learn more about the Collegiate Wind Competition by checking out the 2021 team stories.