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The wind tunnel and contestants at Collegiate Wind Competition 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Collegiate Wind Competition prepares students from multiple disciplines to enter the wind energy workforce by providing real-world technology experience. Getting involved with the Collegiate Wind Competition furthers wind energy education and promotes careers in the wind industry to a new generation of students. 

You can learn more about how you can participate on the following pages:

What Does Competing in the Competition Involve?

Over the course of a school year, Collegiate Wind Competition teams work to design and build a model turbine and develop a business plan based on market research. Teams present their business plans, test their turbines, and participate in a siting challenge during the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) WINDPOWER conference, typically held in May. Historically, competing schools have also been extended an invitation to participate in the Collegiate Wind Competition Technical Challenge, which is held the following year at the National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colorado. For this segment of the competition, students work to improve upon their design and participate in a new engineering challenge.

Schools typically seek sponsorship to help support their participation in the event and engage their local community and university to promote wind energy education.

Why Participate?

The Collegiate Wind Competition provides a unique opportunity for hands-on wind energy workforce training. There is a growing need for wind energy professionals in the United States, and this competition helps students develop the necessary skills and knowledge to find future work in this area and other STEM fields. The competition promotes job and networking opportunities for students, who are also invited to join a post-competition alumni group. 

NREL staff helps selected schools develop wind energy engineering, business, and siting programs and coursework.  The highly publicized competition promotes schools’ strengths and offers the possibility for national recognition as the university with the strongest business plan, technical design, turbine testing score, and combined overall score.  

Example Past Competition Timeline

Currently a biennial competition, the Collegiate Wind Competition brings together post-secondary students for three days of competition at the AWEA’s annual industry conference, WINDPOWER. Our most recent events are in the timeline below:

  • May 2016: Collegiate Wind Competition 2016 held at AWEA WINDPOWER in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Summer 2016: Collegiate Wind Competition 2017 Technical Challenge Rules & Requirements released
  • November 2016: Department of Energy announced Collegiate Wind Competition 2018 request for proposals
  • April 2017: Twelve competing schools selected and announced for Collegiate Wind Competition 2018
  • April 2017: Collegiate Wind Competition 2017 Technical Challenge held at the National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colorado
  • Summer 2017: Collegiate Wind Competition 2018 Rules & Requirements released
  • May 2018: Collegiate Wind Competition 2018 held at the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference in Chicago, Illinois
  • Summer 2018: Collegiate Wind Competition 2019 Technical Challenge Rules & Requirements released
  • Fall 2018: Collegiate Wind Competition 2020 request for proposals released
  • May 2019: Collegiate Wind Competition 2019 Technical Challenge in Boulder, Colorado

For more information, see our video resources.