Congratulations to our 2023 winners!​

AES’ 2023 Energy Innovation Challenge brought together 46 teams with over 175 graduate students from across the country. Students were challenged with redesigning energy infrastructure to catalyze local support through community benefits. Our AES judges were impressed with many innovative and novel solutions, but two winning teams stood out in their presentations and in-depth solutions.​

1st Place - 2023 US Energy Innovation Challenge

​First place​

​Green Grad Buffs – Colorado University Boulder​

​Thomas Hill, Tatiana Huet de Bacellar, Patrick Fegan, Emily Cummins and Andrew Bayliss designed a solution to revitalize existing steam turbine infrastructure through thermal energy storage and lithium-ion battery storage that also houses a Colorado Energy Museum, Energy Workforce Training Facility as well as a community hub.

2nd Place - 2023 US Energy Innovation Challenge

Second place​

Ene-archy – Duke University​

Petya Miteva, Amelia Atencio, Sanchit Patra and Louis Linden proposed the Gullah / Geechee Offshore Wind Corridor, a multi-use offshore wind site installed with a protected oyster reef habitat designed to address energy security, mitigate environmental concerns, and stimulate the local coastal economy.​

Competition framework
  • Participants are high-performing, graduate students who demonstrate diversity of thought, a passion for renewable energy, and personify our company values.
  • Student teams will create a presentation detailing a solution in response to the prompt that will be related to a clean energy problem that the industry is facing.
  • Participating teams will receive a briefing packet when the prompt is released in October and the application period closes.
  • Four-week competition with 2 two-week rounds.
  • The first round will be regional, the finals will include the two best teams from each region and the next highest scoring team from any region.
  • Winning teams will receive monetary prizes as well as individual interview conversations for full time and internship opportunities.
  • All competition participants will receive access to networking opportunities at AES and industry association memberships.
Team requirements
  • All participants must be enrolled in a graduate degree or equivalent program and attend the same academic institution.
  • 3-5 graduate students  per team.
  • Teams must have representation from at least two different academic disciplines. This can be representing different graduate programs or different undergraduate backgrounds if entire team is in the same graduate program.
  • Students must form their own teams; however, team formation support will be provided at our information sessions.

Why participate?

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Accelerate the responsible energy transition

We are in an unprecedented time, facing monumental challenges in order to transition our society into a clean energy future. The Energy Innovation Challenge allows you to join AES in accelerating the future of energy by gaining invaluable insight into what these problems look like and what it takes to solve them.

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Networking

Participating students will be provided several valuable networking opportunities. All participants will be able to select a discipline and speak one-on-one in a coffee chat with an AES person of that business specialty. Finalists will receive the unique opportunity to network with AES senior leaders as a component of the final round of presentations. The first and second place winning teams will receive individual interview conversations for full time and internship opportunities depending on the students’ needs.

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Gain invaluable industry experience

Your team will work on a potential solution to a problem facing the energy industry today. Through this exercise, you will conduct research and use different skills you have developed throughout your education to gain real-world energy experience. This competition will show you how to succeed in the industry and make you more attractive to employers.

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Incentivized opportunity

First Place prizes: Individual interviews + $10,000 to the team + $1,000 to a charity in the team’s name


Second Place prizes: Individual interviews + $5,000 to the team + $1,000 to a charity in the team’s name


Participant prizes: All participants will receive student energy industry association memberships and opportunities to network with AES professionals

AES' Energy Innovation Challenge Winners 2022

Competition FAQs

We recognize entering the energy industry can sometimes be challenging given the lack of collegiate experiential opportunities. This competition will provide students that are interested in the energy sector with a realistic problem-solving opportunity and exposure to the AES brand and people. This challenge is different from other collegiate competitions because we are looking for solutions that consider a variety of implications — including technological, environmental, financial, social, and beyond. That is why it's critical that teams represent a variety of education backgrounds in either their previous undergraduate areas of study or their current graduate programs.

To maximize participation and potential benefits for participating teams, there is a maximum number of teams that will be able to participate. If necessary, teams will be filtered by their responses to the posed application questions.

At AES and across the energy industry, no challenge is solved by a single viewpoint. Every problem requires a holistic approach and people who can come together with their diverse viewpoints and areas of expertise to deliver the greatest impact solutions. The competition mimics this approach to provide students with a realistic industry experience in which our judges will evaluate the teams on their ability to incorporate interdisciplinary areas of focus into their proposed solutions.

Unfortunately, undergraduates cannot participate this year. In the future, we will have an undergraduate opportunity.

Yes, there is a new competition topic every year. The topic is changed to continue to stay relevant with current events and key industry topics and trends.

Your application will be reviewed along with all other submitted applications. If selected to compete, your team will be contacted with more information prior to the start of the first round.

Other questions?

If you have any additional questions, please contact us at innovationchallenge@aes.com.

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