Meet the Collegiate Wind Competition 2021 Teams!

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Wind Energy Technologies Office


March 23, 2021

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In This Issue

Continue to follow the Wind Energy Technologies Office for the latest news, events, and updates.


Meet the 2021 Collegiate Wind Competition Teams

Female CWC participant sets up her model wind turbine for testing.

This June, 13 competing teams and two learn-along teams of college students from across the United States will showcase their wind energy achievements at the 2021 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Collegiate Wind Competition. Now in its 8th year, the competition prepares students from multiple disciplines to enter the wind energy workforce by providing real-world experience in technology and project development, community outreach, and industry engagement. The 2021 event focuses on adaptability, calling on teams to research, design, and build a turbine for deployment in highly uncertain times. This year’s competition also includes a Connection Creation Contest, challenging teams to build connections to and relationships with members of the wind industry and local communities.

To safeguard the health of students, judges, and organizers, the 2021 Collegiate Wind Competition will be held virtually. Teams will use digital tools to present their work to a remote panel of judges via webinar. To help 2021 teams prepare, two of the winning 2020 teams provided tips for competing in a time of social distancing.

Berkeley Lab Study Shines Light on Wind Energy Taxes and Schools

Wind energy has grown tremendously in the United States in recent years—installed capacity today is more than 50 times what it was in 1995. Most states tax the property on which wind turbines sit and some of that money flows to school districts. But how much, and what is the benefit? To find out, researchers at Berkeley Lab, the University of Connecticut, and Amherst College examined U.S. wind energy projects installed between 1995 and 2016 in 638 school districts across 35 states. The research indicates that wind projects led to substantial increases in revenue and expenditures, boosting capital spending, improving or expanding education facilities and features that were beneficial to students, teachers, and communities. Detailed findings are in the resulting paper on Berkeley Lab’s website.


Wind Energy's Effect on School Finances and Student Outcomes

Webinar: Friday, Mar. 26, 2021, 1–2 p.m. ET

Co-authors Ben Hoen (Berkeley Lab), Eric Brunner (University of Connecticut), and Joshua Hyman (Amherst College) will present the results of a recent study that examines the impacts of wind energy installations on school district finances and student achievement.

Register on Berkeley Lab’s website.

Wind Digital Solutions Summit

Virtual: Apr. 20–21, 2021

Join members of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers at the Wind Digital Solutions Summit, April 20–21. The summit is an opportunity for participants to learn about the global wind industry as it continues to shift toward digitalization and how digital technology innovations make wind energy more safe, reliable, and accessible through AI (artificial intelligence), big data, robotics, and automation. The summit will feature presentations from DOE-funded research laboratories. Kelly Speakes-Backman, DOE’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, will share how DOE is integrating digital solutions, such as additive manufacturing and machine learning, to enhance existing wind technologies and advance new wind energy solutions.

Find more information on the event website.

International Partnering Forum (IPF) for Offshore Wind

Virtual: IPF Virtual, Apr. 22, May 13, Jun. 17, 2021

IPF Together: Aug. 24–26, 2021, Richmond, VA

The Business Network for Offshore Wind’s International Partnering Forum (IPF) is being held in a multi-part series: virtual and in person. The series will bring together the global offshore wind industry and offer the latest in education, networking, and platforms to help the offshore wind industry grow. IPF Virtual will take place April 22, May 13, and June 17; the main conference, IPF Together, will take place August 24–26 in Richmond, VA.

Registration details are on the IPF website.


Virtual: Jun. 7–10, 2021

Tradeshow and Business Development: Dec. 7–8, 2021, Salt Lake City, UT

The American Clean Power Association will host CLEANPOWER 2021, which will feature topics related to utility-scale wind, solar, storage, and transmission in a two-part series: virtual and in person.  CLEANPOWER will feature a virtual education and collaboration event June 7–10 plus an in-person conference and exhibition December 7–8 in Salt Lake City, UT. The focus for these events is to bring together the different technologies that make up the renewables mix—land-based wind, offshore wind, solar, storage, and transmission—as well as the different segments within the industries: manufacturers, construction firms, owner-operators, utilities, financial firms, and corporate entities.

Register for CLEANPOWER 2021 on the event website.

Sandia Blade Workshop

Workshop: Oct. 25–28, 2021, Albuquerque, NM

Sandia National Laboratories issued a “Save the Date” for its 2021 Sandia Blade Workshop, scheduled for October 25–28 in Albuquerque, NM. The workshop convenes wind energy experts from industry, national laboratories, and universities to discuss the research and development of wind turbine blades.

For more information, visit Sandia National Laboratories website.

In Case You Missed It

Creativity, Persistence, and Passion Drive the Women of Wind Energy

March 8 was International Women’s Day—a day to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality.

Wind turbines and images of five women who work in the wind industry.

In observance of this day, five women working in diverse wind energy roles at national laboratories funded by DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office discussed the paths that led them to their current work, their advice for other women interested in working in wind energy, and what the wind and renewable energy industries can do to attract and retain women employees.

The Curious Case of Old Wind Turbine Parts: Landfill Capacity, Blade Recycling, and Achieving a Circular Economy

Researchers at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have published an article in Resources, Conservation and Recycling that provides an important perspective on wind turbine waste, recyclability, and reuse.

By calculating the volume of wind turbine blades that will reach the end of their 20-year lifespan in each state by 2050 and comparing this to remaining landfill capacity, the researchers determined that if not recycled or reused, cumulative blade waste would use about 1% of remaining U.S. landfill capacity volume, or 0.2% of landfill mass by 2050. While this represents a small portion of landfill capacity, especially relative to total waste produced in the United States, reducing waste volume is not the only motivation for adopting alternative materials and sustainable end-of-life processes for wind turbine blades. A circular economy ensures that we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them while in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their service life for use in other contexts. It also reduces the need for virgin materials to build these machines, further reducing environmental impact.

NREL and other DOE national laboratories are researching how changes in turbine design and materials can lead to an improved circular economy for wind turbine materials. For example, using thermoplastic resins—instead of traditional thermoset resins—can improve blade recyclability while enabling longer, lighter-weight, and lower-cost blades.

North American Wind Energy Academy/WindTech Conference Inspires Future Wind Energy Research

The North American Wind Energy Academy (NAWEA) is accepting abstracts for the NAWEA/WindTech 2021 Conference, scheduled September 22–24 at the University of Delaware.

This conference is an opportunity for researchers, educators, and industry members to advance collaborative wind energy research. The 2021 conference will explore two main themes: grid integration and the social and environmental science of wind energy development, with the goal of bringing together experts from the full range of disciplines needed to realize this future. NAWEA is developing the conference in partnership with the University of Delaware’s Center for Research in Wind. All abstracts must be submitted by April 16.