National Challenge

2018 National KidWind Challenge

2018 National Challenge

We are excited to announce that, with generous support from a variety of funders, we will host the 2018 National KidWind Challenge at the AWEA WINDPOWER 2018 conference in Chicago, IL May 8-10 , 2018.

WINDPOWER is the premier wind energy conference and showcases many of the major wind companies and wind developers. As participants at this event students and their coaches will get to attend the conference for free and will be able to interact with industry professionals.

The goal of the National KidWind Challenge is to provide a venue for the top-scoring participants of local KidWind Challenge Events and the REcharge Labs Wind Turbine Online Challenge winners to compete in one location. At the National KidWind Challenge, teams from all over the world will convene to compete for National recognition. The competition involves tunnel testing, judging by engineering staff, instant competitions, and student presentations.

Top performers at this win a share of cash and prizes, but the real reward for the students and coaches is the connections they make with other students and the wind industry.

Who will be invited?

As in previous years, students who participate and place in one of the local 2016-17 KidWind Challenges or win a monthly REcharge Labs Wind Turbine Online Challenge will be invited to participate in the National Challenge.

Do you have funding for scholarships to help cover travel and accommodation costs?

We don’t have the funds to cover individual team’s travel costs. Last year over 450 students, coaches and parents creatively raised dollars to attend the 2017 National KidWInd Challenge in Anaheim, CA. We highly encourage you to seek out scholarships in your areas or try to do some fundraising. We are here to help you with that process if you need.

What should I expect on the day of the National Challenge? (This is tentative!)

Monday & Tuesday - May 7 & 8, 2018: Early Arrivals

Teams may wish to arrive a few days before to get settled.

Tuesday - May 8, 2018: Check In & Practice

12PM - 5PM: Check in, get set up and practice in the tunnels.
4PM: Group meeting if you are in town

Wednesday - May 9, 2018:

8AM - 6PM: Competition

Thursday - May 10, 2018:

8AM - 11AM: Competition & Trade Show Floor Access
12:30 - 1:00PM: Awards Ceremony

Other Details:

  • Teams should plan to stay through Thursday, May 10 at 2PM.

  • Teachers and students will all get floor passes, which allow you to explore all WINDPOWER floor exhibitions.

  • There will be a Middle School (4-8th grades) and a High School (9-12th grades) Division.

Conference Passes

Teams are not responsible for covering the cost of conference passes/registration. This is something that KidWind handles directly with AWEA. We encourage you to focus your fundraising on travel expenses and other costs and activities associated with the Competition. This pass will not get you into all days of the conference, just the last day of the conference on Thursday May 10th.

How will I know how to prepare my turbine for the National Challenge competition standards?

Your local Event Challenge and the Online Challenges may have different rules than the National Challenge. You will get many more details on all testing and requirements for the National Challenge in early March 2018.

What will AWEA WINDPOWER be like?

It’s going to be awesome! We’re excited to be a part of the largest wind power industry tradeshow in the US, sharing a space with industry CEOs and state-of-the-art inventors. Typically, students are not allowed to attend this tradeshow – that is, until they become wind energy engineers themselves! But we know the importance of incorporating the future of the industry with the present, and we convinced AWEA to open up the space to you all. Don’t miss out! Find out more on their event website.

What are the prizes?

We have $3,000 set aside for the prizes alone at the National Challenge. We are still working on building the prize packages for the top three placed teams.

Where can I stay while I’m there?

Please note we have been advised to avoid lodging in the area around the McCormick Place Convention Center as it is not considered the safest place to stay. It is recommended to stay closer to the downtown area (2+ miles north).

Conference Room Blocks

AWEA has organized several hotel blocks in the vicinity of McCormick Place. The least expensive options under 4 miles from the venue are the Best Western Grant Park Hotel ($219) and the Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop ($209). Please note there is a $50 cancellation policy for any rooms under the AWEA block.


Book rooms at this hostel for a bit of discount! Teams can book 4, 8, and/or 10 bed dorms at a cost of $34-$40 per person per night. Private rooms and semi-private suites are also available but more expensive than the dorms. Contact the group sales manager directly if you are interested.

Emily Piga
Hostelling International Chicago
+1(312) 425-4312


There are various transportation options available in Chicago. Some will be more convenient than others depending where you stay. Please familiarize yourself with these options once you have determined where you will be staying.


There will be conference shuttles running "during peak hours" between the conference center and the hotels where AWEA has room blocks.


  • You can find maps for the Metra (commuter rail line), the L (Chicago Transit Authority train system), and bus routes here

  • Information on fees for the L and bus can be found here

  • Ticket information for the Metra can be found here


Cabs or ride shares are also viable transportation options. We do not recommend renting a vehicle due to the amount of traffic in the Chicago area and the high cost of parking.

I’m interested in coming but I want to know more information. Who should I contact?

Ask away! You can call or email us with any questions or concerns about the National Challenge. Get in touch with Mike (, or by calling (877) 917-0079.