MN Renewable Energy Challenge (4-12 grade)


The MN Renewable Energy Challenge (REC) starts with an 8-week student design and build season in which teams construct small wind turbines with the goal of creating something both efficient and elegant. The season culminates with a Challenge Day where teams bring their wind turbine to be scored on energy output in the wind tunnel, along with design and an industry knowledge component.   

What a REC Team does
Teams typically meet twice a week to fulfill three criteria used in judging on the Challenge Day:

  • Wind Turbine Energy Output
    Wind turbines will be tested in a 48" x 48" wind tunnel at a wind speed of approximately 5 m/s. Please note: wind moving at 5 m/s within a space this large is surprisingly powerful, much faster than a single box fan! Test your device for high winds or come to our team tunnel practice day in March to be prepared. Prior to performance testing, student teams will be given a reasonable amount of time to test their devices.Two attempts per team are provided. Sand bags will be available to hold your turbine in place, your turbine must be free standing and shrouds are not allowed.
  • Wind Turbine Design and Documentation
    A panel of judges will meet with your team for 15 minutes, examine your design, and ask questions about your building and engineering process. Be prepared to share your team's story on what you built! How were you creative, what is the construction quality? How did you maximize power output, what type of materials were utilized, how much did they cost? To aid in the judging process your team should prepare research documentation that reflects the design and engineering process. You can create a poster, make a short video, create an engineer's notebook or write a short report. Make it fun!

  • Industry Knowledge Component
    Each year students will research a component of renewable energy such as; jobs, environemntal impact, or site analysis. Teams will then present their findings to a panel of judges.

Who is on REC team?

Teams have 3 – 8 participants from grades 4-12. Teams can be a mix of grades & ages. In Minnesota we have two judging groups:

                   Rookie Teams (1st year)          Returning Teams

Ready to Start a Team?


High Tech KidsThe Minnesota nonprofit that coordinates team registration, resources, volunteer recruitment and administers the challenge. Established since 1999 we have served more than 22,000 students.
Cheryl Moeller: Executive Director, ,612.781.2203  
Vicki Coaty:  Programs Manager,,  612.781.2203     

Kid Wind Project: St. Paul based company provides building and training materials for coaches as well as teacher curriculum, products and teacher training.               
Michael Arquin:  Director,, 877-917-0079