Competition Will Foster the Next Generation of Wind Energy Professionals

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) began accepting applications for the 2023 Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC). Managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on behalf of the DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO), the CWC helps college students prepare for jobs in the wind and broader renewable energy workforce through real-world experience.

Meeting the Biden administration’s goals of 100% clean electricity by 2035 and a net-zero emission economy by 2050 will require continued growth in the U.S. wind energy industry. This growth requires qualified workers in manufacturing, construction, operation, and maintenance of wind turbines, as well as other support roles.

The CWC, which first launched in 2014, helps prepare the future wind energy workforce by inviting college students from a range of disciplines to represent their schools as they design, build, and test a prototype wind turbine; develop a site plan and cost-of-energy analysis for a wind farm; and conduct outreach with the wind energy industry, their local communities, and local media outlets.

“We need to be filling the pipeline for a wind energy workforce now, if we’re going to reach our clean energy and climate goals by 2035 and 2050,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “I’m eager to see the creative ideas that a diverse set of talented students can come up with as they learn from each other and from members of the wind industry in the 2023 Collegiate Wind Competition.”

The 2023 CWC will use a timeline and application process adjusted from past years to expand the potential teams and schools competing in this annual competition. Students, faculty, or student groups can apply through a straightforward application submission, rather than a formal request for proposals as they did for past competitions.

This new application process will adhere to the following timeline:

June 20, 2022: Deadline for teams to apply to participate in the competition for the 2022–2023 academic year.

July 1, 2022: Participating teams for Phase 1 announced.

February 2023: Teams who will move on to participate in Phase 2 of the CWC announced. Phase 2 teams will be invited to present their work at the American Clean Power Association’s CLEANPOWER Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana in May 2023.

Like the 2022 competition, the 2023 CWC will focus on projects related to offshore wind energy. Teams will test their wind turbine prototypes in an on-site wind tunnel with a sea simulation tank at the 2023 CLEANPOWER Conference & Exhibition.

Participating teams will receive funds to plan and design their technologies, develop their wind energy project development plans, and conduct their outreach activities. Students in various fields, including engineering, communications, and architecture, are encouraged to apply.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and WETO have a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion across their portfolio of projects. Accordingly, strong proposals to this competition should demonstrate a commitment to these values and should strive to engage diverse team members. WETO encourages participation from diverse entities, including Minority Serving Institutions.

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