Cal Poly Wind Power Team Heads to 2024 Collegiate Wind Competition Finals

Two students sitting on top of a car, working on a wind turbine
Members of Cal Poly Wind Power working on a turbine assembly on top of a car

After impressing the judges in phases one and two, the Cal Poly Wind Power club is ramping up to compete in the final phase of the 2024 Collegiate Wind Competition.  

Cal Poly Wind Power focuses on competing in the Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC) which requires several interdisciplinary skills related to engineering, finance, environmental studies and policy. 

Thirty teams were selected at the start of the school year to compete in phase one of the annual competition, which this year strongly focuses on offshore wind energy. 

The competition consists of three components that teams will be judged on – connection creation, project development and turbine development. 

“Throughout the fall quarter, we worked on a preliminary report for each of the three contests, which we then submitted just before winter break,” said club President Trevor Ortega (mechanical engineering).  

“These reports included an outreach plan for the Connection Creation contest and a design report and video of preliminary testing for the Turbine Design contest.” 

The top 12 teams were selected to attend the final stage of the competition in May.

A group of students in two rows posing
The Cal Poly Wind Power team

The club has participated in the past, but this is the first time members will attend the competition in person as finalists. 

“We’ve made really good progress with manufacturing this year’s prototype turbine, so we have the opportunity to spend a lot of time testing and fine-tuning our turbine before the competition,” Ortega said. 

Club Vice President Nora Riedinger (mechanical engineering) has gained valuable experience from the competition. 

“Since joining the team as a freshman, I have been exposed to countless industry connections and opportunities to engage with the wind energy industry,” Riedinger said. “Participating in the club allowed me to get involved in mechanical design, machining and lab testing well before it was a part of any of my classes.” 

She hopes to work with renewable energy or energy optimization after graduation. 

Outside of working on their competition project, members of the wind power team use their skills to teach others. 

“We recently hosted the Energy Innovation Conference at Cal Poly,” said mechanical engineering student Liv Hoffsis, the team’s outreach lead.  

The conference was born from a partnership between Cal Poly Wind Power, Future Fuels and the Power and Energy Society to share knowledge on alternative energy sources. 

The group also participated in Cal Poly’s Society of Women Engineers Building an Engineering (BAE) Day, where they taught eighth-grade students about wind power and led a miniature blade design competition. 

Cal Poly’s Wind Power team will compete against 11 other schools at the Collegiate Wind Competition event from May 5 to 9 at the American Clean Power Association’s CLEANPOWER Conference and Exhibition in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

By Taylor Villanueva