BYU wind team participates in national competition

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The BYU Collegiate Wind Competition Team competed in the Department of Energy’s Collegiate Wind Competition for the first time ever this past week.

“Since we’re a first year team, we were trailblazing, so to speak. No one at (BYU) has ever done this before,” team member Wesley Holt said.

BYU Wind Energy Club President James Cutler received the “Founder of the Feast” award for his efforts in getting BYU into the competition.

The team received $20,000 to build a wind turbine from scratch and to design a wind farm.

BYU competed in three contests at the competition: the Turbine Prototype Contest, where teams build an effective wind turbine; the Project Development Contest, where teams design a site plan for a wind farm; and the Connection Creation Contest, where teams connect with the local community.

BYU Wind Energy Club members (left to right) Ruth Belnap, Sam Johnson (in the wind tunnel), Nathanael Nelson, Erik Barbosa and Jace Davis work to build a wind turbine. BYU competed in the Department of Energy’s Collegiate Wind Competition for the first time from June 2-11. (James Cutler)

BYU overcame the hurdles COVID-19 presented, such as recruiting and participation, during its inaugural participation in the competition, Cutler said.

The competition allowed for team members to network and connect with industry professionals. “It was helpful to learn from their experiences and know the next steps we should take with grad school, trying to find work and trying to get to where they’re at right now,” Cutler said.

BYU’s participation in the competition shows the growth of interest in wind energy from BYU students, according to Cutler.

“For people who want to do renewable energy, it was hard to find a couple years ago … It’s exciting to see a lot of undergraduates interested in this at BYU and really pushing it forward,” Cutler said.

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