STEM Spark Energy Education Newsletter: Wind

stem spark

Energy Education News - August 2016 

This Issue: Wind Energy - Next Issue: Solar Energy 

Welcome to STEM Spark Energy News!

Welcome to the first issue of STEM Spark Energy Education Newsletter. Each newsletter will focus on the latest energy education resources, competitions, and innovations from the Department of Energy and will highlight a variety of energy technologies. Please share with your education and workforce development community. Sign up here to subscribe to the monthly newsletter!

Wind Energy Overview

The Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, funds cutting-edge research to help the United States develop premier wind energy innovations. Wind power is one of America’s best options for low-cost, carbon-free renewable energy. It combats climate change, supports more than 88,000 U.S. jobs and grew to nearly 74 gigawatts of total installed wind capacity in 2015. That’s enough electricity to power more than 19 million homes per year!

How does a wind turbine work?

So how do wind turbines make electricity? Simply stated, a wind turbine works the opposite of a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft, which connects to a generator and makes electricity. View the wind turbine animation to see how a wind turbine works or take a look inside.

Learn How to Build a Wind Turbine Model

Looking for a fun project to do? Why not explore the gift that keeps on giving: clean energy. This project takes less than 20 minutes to complete and builds awareness of wind energy—the fastest growing source of power in the United States. Watch the step-by-step video on how to build a wind turbine in less than 20 minutes, hosted by Hoyt Battey,

Energy 101 Wind Video

See how wind turbines generate clean electricity from the power of wind. The video highlights the basic principles at work in wind turbines, and illustrates how the various components work to capture and convert wind energy to electricity. This updated version also includes information on the Energy Department's efforts to advance offshore wind power. Offshore wind energy footage courtesy of Vestas.

Offshore Wind Buoy Tour of “Open Hatch” Vessel

Wind and Water Power Technologies Office Director, Jose Zayas gives a behind the scenes tour of the AXYS WindSentinel research buoy, which uses high-tech instruments to measure conditions for potential offshore wind energy development.

Meet the Collegiate Wind Competition Champions 

CWC 2016 Penn State 2

The U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition provides undergraduates real-world skills they need to enter tomorrow’s clean energy workforce by challenging them to develop and deliver a business plan, establish a deployment strategy, and build and test a wind turbine. Congratulations to all 12 teams for a successful competition! This past May, Pennsylvania State University was awarded the overall first place winner for the second consecutive competition.

Wind for Schools

The Department of Energy’s Wind for Schools program helps to develop a wind energy workforce by educating students across the country on the value of wind energy and the bright future accessible through careers in wind. Here are five things you likely didn’t know about Wind for Schools:

Wind for Schools

Women@Energy - Wind


Suzanne Tegen is the wind and water deployment manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) National Wind Technology Center. Trained in energy analysis, Suzanne researches the intersection between wind power, communities, wildlife, and economics. She studies the domestic wind and water power workforces and manages a group of engineers and project leaders, working toward cleaner water and cleaner air for future generations. Suzanne is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Colorado at Boulder where she attained her bachelor of arts in German literature, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and her Ph.D. in Energy Policy.

A New Era - Wind Vision Report

Not only is wind a long-term renewable resource, but wind energy deployment will help stimulate the revitalization of key sectors of the economy by investing in infrastructure and creating long-term, sustainable skilled jobs. According to the Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United StatesWind has the potential to support over 600,000 jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and supporting services by 2050. Learn about wind careers here.

Social Media Wind Challenge


Join the challenge! Have your class or entire school make your own Wind Turbines and post pictures on your social media channels using #STEMSparkE or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. We look forward to connect with you!

Department of Energy Student Contests and Competitions


National Science Bowl February-March 2017  
BioenergizeME Infographic Challenge
Earth Day Poster Contest April 1, 2017 Deadline

Higher Education

Collegiate Wind Competition 
Solar Decathalon October 5-17, 2017 in Denver, CO
Race to Zero November 1, 2016 Deadline
EcoCar Challenge
Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP)

All Ages

Wave Energy Prize

School/School District

Better Building Challenge
Solar Communities Challenge 

Classroom Wind Energy Activities

Wonders of Wind (K-4, 5-8)
Energy from the Sun (5-8)
Exploring Wind Energy (9-12) 

Energy 101 Videos
Energy Literacy Videos
Energy Literacy Framework

Career Resources

Career Maps

Wind Careers
Solar Careers


Minority Educational Institution Student Partnership Program
Student Volunteer Internship Program
Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program


Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education - ORISE
Department of Energy Computer Science Fellowship 
DOE Office of Science Graduate Research Program
Bioenergy Technologies Office Fellowships

Teacher Professional Development

Triple-E Teachers Seminar, National Energy Technology Laboratory
November 17-18, 2016 NETL – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Department of Energy Calendar

September 30 - BioEnergizeME Registration Opens

October - Energy Awareness/Action Month

October 7 - National Manufacturing Day
October 8 - National Hydrogen Fuel Cell Day
October 19 - National BioEnergy Day (BioEnergy Week)
October 30 - Weatherization Day - 40th Anniversary

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