The US Department of Energy (DOE) has revealed the victorious teams of the 2023 Hydropower Collegiate Competition (HCC) and Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC). Endicott College claimed the top spot in the inaugural HCC, while the University of New Hampshire emerged as the victor in the fourth annual MECC. The DOE also disclosed the list of teams selected to compete in the 2024 HCC and MECC.

“I congratulate the winners of the 2023 Hydropower and Marine Energy Collegiate Competitions for demonstrating new possibilities for how we can use hydropower and marine energy to help meet our climate and clean energy goals,” said Alejandro Moreno, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “I am excited to see these talented students utilize the real-world experiences and connections they gained through these competitions and hope to see them continue to support our clean energy transition.”

The utilization of hydropower and marine energy resources holds the key to realizing these objectives, as they provide reliable and predictable sources of electricity generation. These forms of renewable energy can effectively balance the electricity grid, particularly in accommodating the variability of wind and solar power. To meet the demand for skilled professionals in the hydropower and marine energy industries, the HCC and MECC competitions were established to equip undergraduate and graduate students with the necessary knowledge and expertise.

The 2023 HCC required ten student-led teams to analyze a case study on integrating hydropower into a future power grid fueled entirely by renewable energy. The participants also addressed the challenges and opportunities associated with incorporating hydropower into this vision. The winners of the 2023 HCC were as follows: Endicott College secured first place, Yale University claimed second place, and Northern Arizona University took third place. Additionally, individual category winners were recognized, with Texas Tech University earning the Best Poster award, Endicott College prevailing in the Case Study Contest, and Yale University excelling in the Connection Creation Contest.

The 2023 MECC involved nineteen student-led teams, who focused on designing and developing business plans for marine energy technologies to support blue economy activities. Eighteen of these teams further tested prototypes of their designs in test tanks across the country. The winners of the 2023 MECC were announced as the University of New Hampshire securing first place, followed by California Polytechnic State University in second place, and Purdue University in third place. Similarly, individual category winners included the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for Best Poster, the University of Michigan in partnership with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for the Build and Test Challenge, Cornell University for Best Report, and the University of New Hampshire for Best Pitch. Manhattan College received recognition for their outstanding work in the Connection Creation Contest, while California Polytechnic State University earned the Rookie of the Year Award.

Looking ahead to the 2024 competitions, the DOE revealed the teams selected to compete in the HCC and MECC. The 2024 HCC will focus on proposing solutions for incorporating power-generating infrastructure into existing non-powered dams. The 2024 MECC will continue to explore ways in which marine energy can contribute to powering the blue economy. 

Ten teams were chosen for the second annual HCC:

  • California Polytechnic State University 
  • California State University, Fresno 
  • Columbia University 
  • Johns Hopkins University 
  • Northern Arizona University 
  • Texas Tech University 
  • University of Houston 
  • University of Michigan 
  • University of North Florida 
  • University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Twenty teams were selected for the fifth annual MECC:

  • Arizona State University 
  • California Polytechnic State University  
  • California State University, Fresno 
  • California State University, San Marcos  
  • Federal University of Rio de Janeiro  
  • Illinois Institute of Technology 
  • Manhattan College 
  • Michigan Technological University  
  • Northeastern University 
  • Oakland University 
  • Oregon State University 
  • Purdue University 
  • Rutgers University 
  • Stevens Institute of Technology 
  • University of California, Riverside 
  • University of Massachusetts Dartmouth 
  • University of New Hampshire 
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte 
  • University of Houston 
  • Webb Institute

The DOE highlighted the inclusivity of these competitions, with a combined total of 15 minority-serving institutions, including historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, and Hispanic-serving institutions, among others, participating in the events.

DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office funds both competitions. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) administers the MECC, and NREL and the Hydropower Foundation administer the HCC.