American-Made Challenges


Collegiate Wind Competition

Helping college students prepare for jobs in the wind and renewable energy workforce through real-world experiences.


The Collegiate Wind Competition

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office launched the Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC) in 2014. CWC helps multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate students prepare for jobs in wind and renewable energy through the following activities: 

  • The Turbine Prototype Contest & Turbine Testing Contest, in which teams design, build, and present a unique, wind-driven power system based on market research and test the wind turbine in an on-site wind tunnel. 
  • The Project Development Contest, in which teams research wind resource data, transmission infrastructure, and environmental factors to create a site plan and financial analysis for a hypothetical wind farm. 
  • The Connection Creation Contest, in which teams conduct outreach with the wind energy industry, their local communities, and local media outlets to raise wind energy awareness and promote their accomplishments. 

Join the CWC mailing list to receive updates on this competition. Visit the CWC news page for updates, alumni success stories, and other CWC news. 


Teams can be comprised of undergraduate students from:  

  • A single four-year college or university in the United States  
  • A four-year college or university in the United States as the lead institution partnering with a two-year institution in the United States, such as a community college  
  • A four-year college or university in the United States as the lead institution partnering with an international institution, with both institutions being represented at the final CWC event
    • International teams will not be eligible to receive support funding from the U.S. Department of Energy or the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and must provide their own support.  
  • Teams should strive to include a diverse range of academic disciplines, including but not limited to:
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Marketing
    • Communications
    • Environmental and Public Policy
    • Social Sciences
  • Teams should also strive to include students from groups historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Explore the CWC 2024 Phase 2 and 3 Rules and Requirements to learn more.

Join the CWC mailing list to stay informed about CWC updates, news, and events. 

Contact us directly at with any additional questions. 


Challenge Updates

CWC 2024 Teams: Remember To Check the HeroX Forum Tab!

Oct. 20, 2023, 11:09 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenges

The Collegiate Wind Competition organizers would like to remind all CWC 2024 teams that important questions and discussions about the 2024 competition—including clarification of and updates to the rules document—can be found in the HeroX Forum tab. If you have a question, please check the Forum tab to see if it has already been answered. If you have a new question, we also encourage you to post it in the Forum tab so other teams with the same question will be able to see it. Finally, be sure to check the Forum tab regularly—you might learn something you didn't even know you needed to know!

CWC 2024 Final Event Will be Held at CLEANPOWER!

Oct. 13, 2023, 1:17 p.m. PDT by Tara McMurtry

The Collegiate Wind Competition will be held at American Clean Power Association's CLEANPOWER Conference and Exhibition May 6-9, 2024, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

The competition organizers will provide a detailed schedule of CWC events at CLEANPOWER as the conference gets closer. 

Now Final: CWC 2024 Rules - Phases 2 and 3

Oct. 13, 2023, 1:07 p.m. PDT by Tara McMurtry

The U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition organizers have published the final rules document for Phases 2 and 3 of the 2024 competition

You can also find this document on CWC's HeroX page, under the "Resources" tab

Visit our Rules landing page on to find more information about the rules document, as well as rules from past competitions. 

Thirty-Two Teams Prepare for the 2024 Collegiate Wind Competition

July 20, 2023, 11:05 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenges

Congratulations to the 32 colleges and universities selected to participate in the first round of the 2024 Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC)! 

During the first half of the 2023–2024 school year, these teams will develop preliminary designs for a prototype fixed-bottom offshore wind turbine and a hypothetical wind farm site, conduct outreach, network with the industry, and compete for a spot at the final event, where they will present their work to expert judges and test their prototype in a wind tunnel.  

By early 2024, the organizers will narrow the competition to, at most, 12 finalist teams, which will be invited to continue to participate in the second half of the school year and present their work at the CWC 2024 final event. Teams not selected will be invited to continue as learn-along teams. 

Selected teams, please keep your eyes out for an invite to our CWC 2024 kickoff call in early September!