A year ago at this time had anyone asked me about KW (Kid Wind) I would have responded that kilowatts are the units that electrical power is measured in. Then if they would have said no, no I mean the Kid Wind Challenge, I would have guessed that it had something to do with teams of kids building something powered by the wind.
Then EDP Renewables, the company building the Quilt Block wind farm in Darlington, WI sent me to one of Mike Arquin's RE Charge Labs held in Boulder, Colorado for a week of I will call total KW immersion. Five days, forty hours of hands on fun filled learning experiences and experiments using all the materials for KW but also much more. Like solar, hydro, utility grid, vehicle, etc. fun learning activities for K thru 12 classrooms. Plus field trips to Vestas and the NREL to see the real thing.
I was hooked and began a journey that would involve, two local school districts, Darlington and Shullsburg. Four teachers and 20 students forming four KW Challenge teams. With EDP support and Mike Arqiun's help the teams began to design, build and test different blades and gear ratios in the wind tunnels and study their performance. Then redesign, modify and test again. Doing research and applying what they learned to continue to improve and expand their knowledge about wind energy and the design of wind turbines. Along the way I ran a workshop in Madison, WI and a sectional presentation at the WTEA (Wisconsin Technical Education Association) 2018 conference for other teachers to spread the word about KW and KW Challenges.
The four new KW teams competed in a KW Challenge held at the Wisconsin Energy Institute in Madison, WI and based on their knowledge and performance three of the teams qualified to compete in the 2018 National KW Challenge on May 8-10 in Chicago, IL during the AWEA (American Wind Energy Associations Conference). This was a very big deal! As first year teams we had no idea but went to work re-designing and re-building the blades and turbines as we knew our teams would be compeating against teams with more experience from all over the United States.
The logistics of getting three KW teams, coaches and equipment to the McCormick Place in Chicago would be costly and complex. Transportation, lodging, food, some time for fun and the competition. Again EDP Renewables was there supporting the teams and all the work they had done. This really meant a lot to everyone involved to see how EDP Renewables valued what the teams and coaches did.
Thanks to all the students, coaches, parents, administration, school boards, Kid Wind and EDP Renewables for valuing the KW Challenge.
Remember, "Every year is a good year, some years are just better than others."