EDPR NA Joins Oregon Renewables and Central Washington University for Ellensburg KidWind Challenge
On Saturday, April 12, local students from Kittitas County competed in the 2014 Ellensburg KidWind Challenge at the Central Washington University Hogue Technology Building.
Students (grades 4-12) who attended the event built their own wind turbines that were tested in a wind tunnel consisting of four large fans. The turbines were then connected to a computer program for 60 seconds to measure their power and energy output. This computer program produced a score to help determine each turbine’s efficiency, and the students were also judged on innovation, blade design, turbine design, documentation, knowledge of subject matter, and teamwork.
EDPR NA staff served as judges of the event and also assisted the participants with their turbine projects. Kittitas Valley Wind Farm Operations Site Manager Eric Melbardis critiqued the students’ turbines and conducted short interviews with each team. External Communications Associate Adam Renz and Executive Assistant – Western Region Wendy McMillen operated one of the wind tunnel testing stations.
In between performance tests and judging, EDPR NA staff and family members supervised various activities. Kittitas Valley Wind Farm Operations Administrator Natalie Currie and her two children led students in a side competition that required propelling a hovercraft made of a compact disk, bottle lid, and balloon across the floor. Melbardis’s wife and daughter provided support to the EDPR NA team throughout the day.
At the end of the day, judges deliberated for a short while before announcing winners in several categories.
“The final decision was hard,” McMillen said. “All of the teams were very creative and quite knowledgeable. The competition was tough.”
EDPR NA provided cash prizes to the winners. The top two competing teams will travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in a National Competition.
“We were pleased to be able to provide the grand prizes and support such a great event,” Renz said. “EDPR NA looks forward to continuing to develop our relationship with Jon Roschke of Oregon Renewables and hope to be back next year.”