Ten returning teams participated in the U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition 2017 Technical Challenge, held at the National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colorado on April 20–22, 2017. 

Teams that competed in the 2016 competition were asked to expand the capability of their turbine to operate in a multi-directional wind environment, conceptually to allow turbine yaw. This could be in the form of an updated turbine from the 2016 event or the development of a completely new wind turbine and/or load.

Rules and Requirements


Over the course of 3 days, the teams put their wind turbines through rigorous performance testing, presented their wind turbine designs to a panel of industry experts, and developed siting plans as part of a bonus challenge. The Pennsylvania State University won first place, its third in the four years of the competition. Kansas State University and University of Alaska Fairbanks took second and third place respectively. 

In addition, the following schools were recognized as top finishers in the following categories:

In addition to the competition, a number of industry members presented their experiences and thoughts about the wind industry over the course of 3 days. Speakers included:

  • Bob Thresher, Research Fellow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • Paul Veers, Chief Engineer, NREL
  • Carlo Brancucci Martinez-Anido, Senior Research Engineer, NREL
  • Kristen Graf, Executive Director, Women of Wind Energy
  • Erin Degutis, Senior Siting and Land Rights Agent, Xcel Energy
  • Luke Reed, Energy Resource Engineer, Renewable Energy Systems, Americas
  • Donna Hope, Consultant, The JPB Foundation
  • Andre Pettigrew, Senior Economic Development Professional and Business Strategist