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Northwest Energy Experience
BPA is sponsoring a new academic prize program that pairs university students and faculty with BPA technical and subject-matter-experts in collaborative, real-world, applied research projects focused on the Northwest power system. The program, known as the Northwest Energy Experience Prize or NW Energy XP, is an opportunity for students from different universities to work cooperatively on topics of interest to BPA and the electric power industry, and an opportunity to grow regional expertise while attracting top talent to careers in energy.
Oregon BEST administers the program activities, funded by a grant from BPA, sponsored by the Technology Innovation Office. 
“We’re creating a Northwest energy innovation lab that equips students with the skills and mindset essential to contributing to our energy future,” Administrator Elliot Mainzer says. “The BPA collaboration with Oregon BEST is a valuable step toward the continued development of the Northwest as a center of excellence for energy and environment technologies and expertise.”
In April, the prizewinners from the participating schools – Oregon State University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Portland State University and Washington State University, Vancouver – formed three inter-university teams and picked a study topic to work on. (The projects are designed to be completed in a single term and a maximum of two.)
The program features workshops for defining the study topics, support for student research, and planning and hosting an annual conference where scholars, faculty advisers and subject-matter-experts present their results. The conference is also the venue where students select their special study topics for the next year’s program. Each participating university’s foundation receives an award for its winning students to use in the form of tuition credits and a project stipend. The next round of awards will be made in October.
BPA and Oregon BEST will welcome additional industry sponsors and look forward to additional Northwest universities participating. Interested parties should contact Johanna Brickman at Oregon BEST (503-725-9641).
The program complements BPA’s other student-related programs, such as the Student Program and BPA-sponsored Capstone Projects. Visit the NW Energy XP website to learn more.