Wind Team explores renewable energy

The RAHS Wind Team has spent the past year building a turbine and as a culmination of their progress, went to Denver for the 2017 Collegiate Wind Competition to show the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) what they’ve been working on to convince NREL to let them compete in next year’s competition.


The Collegiate Wind Competition is a challenge for university teams to solve a complicated wind energy problem by creating and marketing a wind turbine that could be an effective supplement to energy demands.


Business Team leader Sophomore Perrin Lafky said going on this trip gave legitimacy and proved to others the uniqueness of RAHS.


“We went to Denver to convince NREL that Aviation is different from other schools, and that we therefore deserve to compete on the collegiate level,” said Lafky. “We hope to participate in the 2018 Collegiate Wind Competition.”


RAHS students have proved that they can go above and beyond when it comes to wind technology. The team was actually built from previous success in the field.


“Students were interested in creating solutions to clean energy and making Wind Team after astounding success at KindWind 2016,” said Lafky.


The Wind Team is split into two teams: Business and Engineering. Business handles the marketing and feasibility of the wind turbine, while the engineering team builds the turbine. Engineering is split into subgroups such as load system, electrical, and blades.


With 14 people on the team, sophomore team member Roosevelt Anderson says planning the trip was anything but easy.


“Communicating with hotels and airlines to find the best prices, scheduling activities to do while we’re there, it was all very complicated. It took almost a month,” said Anderson.


Despite the logistical difficulties, business team member, Oliver Low, thinks the group’s arrival was received well. He was part of the five-person group that presented to the judges about the team’s progress over the last year and plans moving forward.


“It was very satisfying to see the many weeks of work put in put into fruition and hear that the NREL judges were enthusiastic to see our continuing success,” said Low.


The high-level competition was a unique chance to observe collegiate teams working on turbines. Low thinks the colleges were great models for what they should be expected to be measured against and gave a clear sense of direction going forward.


“We made a positive impression and can possibly set a good precedent for future high school participation” said Low. “Being around the college teams and the real 50-meter wind turbines at NREL instilled a sense of inspiration in us. It renewed our drive for success and prosperity in this team.”


Drawing from the knowledge and motivation which stemmed from the trip, the Wind Team is looking forward to the year ahead.
“Looking towards the 2018 competition, there’s a lot more work to do and a lot more to learn,” said Lafky. “This trip gave us the necessary insight to begin work on these steps and to achieve what we want next June.”

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