NREL Challenge


Geothermal Collegiate Competition - Class of 2022

Foster understanding of geothermal, communicate benefits of geothermal technologies, and overcome non-technical barriers to development.

This challenge is closed

In-Person Stakeholder Engagement Events - Summer 2022

This challenge is closed



Welcome to the Academic Year 2021-2022 Geothermal Collegiate Challenge. Please follow the challenge to stay up to date on announcements and more details.

Through the Geothermal Collegiate Competition, the DOE Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) encourages students to develop innovative solutions for geothermal energy application challenges and build career skills for the clean energy workforce. By engaging students not traditionally involved with geothermal research, GTO aims to raise awareness of geothermal resources among communities and the public, thereby broadening the geothermal stakeholder base.

The Geothermal Collegiate Competition invites participation by teams of at least three students enrolled in accredited U.S.-based collegiate institutions or U.S. citizens enrolled at non-U.S. based collegiate institutions. In this case, “collegiate institution” refers to any school of post-secondary or higher education, including but not limited to community colleges, technical colleges, and traditional four-year and graduate-level universities. See “Who Can Enter” for more information on eligibility. There is no cost to register or participate.


Please review the official rules  for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by using the contact feature on the HeroX platform or message us directly at


Challenge Updates

Gather Your Team for the Fall 2023 Geothermal Collegiate Competition!

May 24, 2023, 8:18 a.m. PDT by Kelly MacGregor

The Geothermal Collegiate Competition (GCC) has announced the launch of the Fall 2023 cycle! Read the rules and start gathering your team for the competition that invites students to develop real-world geothermal solutions while competing for cash prizes and gaining resume experience in the renewable energy industry.

With two tracks this year—technical and policy—there is something for nearly any undergraduate or graduate student. First-place teams in each track will receive $10,000 and second-place teams can earn $6,000. 

Registration will open on August 1, 2023! Check out the rules to learn more and follow the competition on HeroX for updates.


  • Register for one of the GCC office hours: 
  • Or email  with questions.

DOE Seeks Public Comment on New $1 Billion Program for Rural or Remote Communities

Nov. 2, 2022, 8:56 a.m. PDT by Kelly MacGregor

The Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) is seeking public input via a Request for Information (RFI) on a new $1 billion program to improve energy generation in rural or remote communities across the country. 

  • Funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program aims to strengthen the resilience, reliability, and availability of energy systems, helping communities unlock the public health and cost-saving benefits that cleaner, more efficient energy provides.
  • This RFI will inform the funding opportunity for the ERA program and is an opportunity for DOE to hear from rural or remote communities, utilities, private sector project developers, and others about what they need to improve their energy systems.

Feedback to this RFI can be submitted to until Nov 28, 2022, at noon EST. More information is available on the Geothermal Technologies Office website

2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition Winning Teams

May 17, 2022, 11 a.m. PDT by Caity Smith

The winners of the 2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition were announced by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today! Congratulations to the University of Oklahoma (first place), the University of North Dakota/Reykjavik University (second place), and the University of Colorado Boulder (third place) on their innovative geothermal designs. 

The Sooners Geothermal Team from the University of Oklahoma earned first place and $10,000 for designing a system repurposing six abandoned oil and gas wells in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to provide clean, renewable geothermal energy for more than 730,449 square feet of educational and municipal buildings, including sites within the Absentee Shawnee Tribe and Potawatomi Nation jurisdiction. By using previously drilled wells that were no longer producing, the team was able to reduce drilling costs to feasibly power local schools, religious centers, and government buildings.  

Hear from DOE about the importance of geothermal and learn more about the designs from the University of North Dakota and the University of Colorado Boulder in today’s announcement

Congratulations to all competition participants this year! We hope you will consider participating again in spring 2023. For our graduates, we wish you the best of luck and encourage you to join the clean energy workforce! 

Student Scholarship Opportunity for Geothermal Rising Conference

May 6, 2022, 9:07 a.m. PDT by Kelly MacGregor

Are you a student who wants to attend the Geothermal Rising Conference in Reno, NV, August 28–31, 2022? WING USA will be sponsoring 10 students to attend this year's annual meeting. 

Students of any level, any gender, and any nationality who are interested in pursuing a career in geothermal are urged to apply by May 10, 2022

The scholarship covers the cost of in-person event registration; travel and lodging costs must be paid by the student. 

To apply: 

  • Prepare a short essay describing your interest in geothermal energy and gender equity in your school or workplace. Make it personal! 250 words are suggested.  
  • Send your short essay, with a copy of your CV, to by May 10, 2022.
Geothermal Rising Conference 2022. Student Scholarships. Picture of mountains.

GeoRePORT Socioeconomic Assessment Tool—Recording Now Available

Feb. 24, 2022, 7:27 a.m. PST by Kelly MacGregor

The GeoRePORT Socioeconomic Assessment Tool (SEAT) webinar is now available to watch on demand. Aaron Levine, Esq., from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, discusses the tool and how it has been updated for the assessment of direct use geothermal resources. 

To view all recorded webinars from the 2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition (GCC), visit the GCC Playlist.