14 Jun 2024 .

Inspiring the next generation of renewable energy engineers at CLEANPOWER 2024.

Cleanpower participants

The Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC), which is run by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), aims to help college students prepare for jobs in the wind and renewable energy workforce. The event, which is held across a full academic year, is participated in by multiple universities which gets narrowed down to 12 for the final round at the annual CLEANPOWER conference.  

Natural Power’s Technology Lead, Rob Slack, was a judge for the prototype turbine (design) portion of the competition for the second time at this year’s event, previously working as part of the 2022 judging contingent. He said about the event “It’s great to spend time with the students, the event organizers and the other judges. It’s a unique cross section of people around the event, interesting to get different perspectives on what is going on broadly in wind energy.” 

The competition has four categories for project development, turbine testing, turbine prototyping, and connection creation and an overall first place for the top cumulative performances. Each of the competitors submit 12 design reports and 15 pages describing the prototype turbines, this is followed at the conference by design presentations and Q&A sessions with the teams to get a better understanding of what they created.  

This year’s winners were:  

  • Overall First Place: California State University Maritime Academy 

  • Overall Second Place: University of Colorado Boulder 

  • Overall Third Place: Kansas State University  

  • Connection Creation Contest: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo 

  • Project Development Contest: University of Wisconsin–Madison  

  • Turbine Prototype Contest: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo  

  • Turbine Testing Contest: California State University Maritime Academy. 

The event is a fantastic opportunity to see how the next generation of engineers are tackling the challenges we are faced with. Although there are only a handful of award winners, this event highlights innovative thinking from the next generation and all teams, organizers, judges, and the world at large win from the capacity building contest for academia and industry.  

Find out more about CWC and the future events on the CLEANPOWER website.