The Challenge is the ultimate wind energy learning experience for students. High school students around the country are exploring wind energy through the hands-on, investigative and exciting KidWind Challenge! When students participate in a KidWind Challenge they will:

  • Discover the promise and limitations of wind energy technology
  • Design, build and test a functional creative wind turbine
  • Compete with their peers in a supportive environment

KidWind Competition Components

Each team that registers must build and design their own turbine. You will not be allowed to modify another team’s turbine and use it for testing. You cannot have one turbine shared between teams and simply change blades or other parts for each team.

Your team’s turbine must be able to fit inside the wind tunnel and must be able to operate within the 48” × 48” internal dimensions of the wind tunnel. It is highly recommended that you design your turbine to fit with plenty of room within these dimensions. Sand bags or other weights will be available to hold the turbine in place within the tunnel if required. There are no budgetary restrictions for your turbine design, but it is important to keep in mind that part of the judging process is the economical use of resources. Please use materials responsibly.

There are two divisions teams can participate in for the competition. Teams must choose which division they will be competing in prior to the Annual Convention.

KidWind Generator Division

  • Your turbine must use the generator provided by KidWind as the sole power generator for your wind turbine. The judges must be able to verify that the correct generator is being used on your turbine. If the judges cannot verify that the generator is the correct one, your team may participate but will be unable to win prizes.
  • Your turbine can have only one of these generators
  • Power must be generated solely by wind generated by the wind tunnel
  • Your turbine can either be on a vertical or horizontal axis
  • You may attach whatever you want to the generator to increase how fast or hard it spins (e.g. gears, bearings, supports, etc.)
  • Your wind turbine must be free standing. A tower/stand will not be provided. 
  • You cannot use premade gearboxes, airfoils or blades.


Open Generator Division

  • The basic rule of this division is: If it fits in the tunnel and you built it and the judges think it is safe, we will run it!
  • You can build your own generator based on plans you find from any source
  • You can use other generators that you purchase (e.g. the KidWind SimpleGen, the KidWind GenPack, Jameco, etc.)
  • Power must be generated solely by wind from the wind tunnel
  • Your turbine can either be vertical or horizontal axis
  • You may attach whatever you want to the generator (e.g. gears, bearings, supports, etc.)
  • You can use a premade gearbox or a generator with a gearbox built in
  • You cannot use premade blades or airfoils
  • Your wind turbine must be free standing. A tower/stand will not be provided.
  • You must rectify AC output to DC output for KidWind to use with our testing equipment.

Judging and Awards

Your team’s turbine will be assessed by four categories, each weighted differently as shown in the diagram below. So brush up on your turbine knowledge, find the best materials and parts you can get your hands on and have some fun along the way.

Turbine Judging Rubric

Energy Produced in Tunnel (35%) Drivetrain (10%)
Turbine Design (30%) Report/Engineer’s Notebook/Documentation (20%)
Innovation (10%) Knowledge of Wind Energy Subject Matter (15%)
Blades (10%)

Energy Produced

The judges will use data logging software to record the total energy output of each turbine over a 60-second trial period. They collect this data in milliwatt-seconds or joules. Your team’s energy output will be ranked relative to other competing teams and you’ll receive points corresponding to this rank.

Turbine Design

Judges will inspect the parts of your wind turbine closely. They will also conduct a brief interview with your entire team to understand why you chose the parts you did and why you think they work.

A panel of judges will examine your wind turbine design before testing it in the wind tunnel. You must be prepared to discuss/defend the choices you incorporated into the design. The design criteria you will be judged on include:

  • The choices and mechanisms by which you maximized power output
  • Craftsmanship of your design, creativity and environmental decisions (e.g., Did you use recyclable materials? Can you take your turbine apart after the competition and reuse the parts?).

The judges will be very interested in how you developed and constructed specific parts of your turbine. Make sure you understand the decisions you made when you constructed the following components.

  • 10% Blades
  • 10% Drivetrain
  • 10% Innovation

Documentation of Design

You must produce some type of documentation that reflects your design process and your knowledge of wind energy science. It’s up to each team to determine how to document this part of your project. Documentation has ranged from short reports, engineer’s notebooks, videos, PowerPoints, posters, etc.

Knowledge of Subject Matter

Throughout the Challenge Event, the judges will come around to each team to ask some general questions about wind and renewable energy. They are doing this to see if your team has gained some real wind energy knowledge while you created your wind turbine

The top three places will be awarded in each division. However, each team must receive greater than 85% by all judges to receive an award. In some cases, all awards might not be given if the minimum scoring is not achieved.

An overall winner will be picked by the judges to represent NSBE at the National KidWind Challenge.

Application Procedure

KidWind registration is completed via an online application through Jotform. The application can be found here. Each team interested in participating for the 2020 - 2021 program year must submit an application for the program and meet all of the team requirements.

Completing all of the information in the application is vital.

KidWind Registration Information Team Requirements

Every KidWind team must:

  • Consist of a minimum of two and up to a maximum of four participants
  • Consist of a combination of students in grades 9 - 12
  • Attend the 49th Annual Convention in Kansas City, MO.
  • Consist of active NSBE Jr. members
  • Complete the application request before the deadline

Critical 2022 - 2023 Dates

For quick reference, the following target dates are listed to ensure your participation in NSBE KidWind. For further information on the upcoming NSBE conferences, please visit


KidWind Team Application

Final submission deadline is Sunday, October 11, 2022. Participation confirmation will be sent out by Friday, October 16, 2022.

KidWind 2022 - 2023 Challenge

Teams will receive their kit on a rolling basis as their application is accepted and a formal invitation for participation is received. Returning teams will not receive a new kit.

National Competition

Held at NSBE’s Annual Convention March 22 - March 26, 2023, in Kansas City, MO.

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