The Matthew R. Simmons
Windstorm Challenge

Investing in Maine’s Next Generation of Innovators, Engineers & Clean Energy Champions


Years Running


ME Student Participants


Internship Value


Cost to Students

The Matthew R. Simmons Windstorm Challenge, hosted at the Harold Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory by the University of Maine, asks teams of students to design and construct a floating platform for a scale model wind turbine, and then deliver a presentation to a panel of expert judges. The event is designed for student teams with a diverse range of experiences. We encourage all middle and high school students to participate.

High School Teams

Teams of 4 or fewer high school students. Members of the top qualifying team are offered an internship at UMaine’s Advanced Structures & Composites Center, contingent upon their enrollment to UMaine, valued at more than $20,000.

Middle School Teams

Teams of up to 10 middle school students. These groups will test their platform but they will not be considered for the internship award. An alternative award will be granted to the members of a winning middle school team.


Windstorm Challenge Guidebook

Matthew R. Simmons (1943 – 2010)

Matthew R. Simmons Acknowledgement

Matthew R. Simmons was the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Simmons & Company International, a global leader in providing research, investment banking, and financial advisory services to the energy sector. Matt was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and raised his family in Houston, Texas. He had a home in MidCoast Maine and he and his wife, Ellen, became active members of the MidCoast community. In 2005 his book ‘Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy’ questioned the sustainability of current levels of Middle East Oil production. It was an international bestseller. In 2007 Matt established the Ocean Energy Institute, with the vision to make Maine a leader in offshore wind. The Ocean Energy Institute aimed to replace the world’s fossil fuel reserves with energy from the ocean. His life’s work and vision for Maine’s offshore wind continue posthumously.

The Matthew R. Simmons Memorial Scholarship

The Matthew R. Simmons Memorial Scholarship was established at the University of Maine, Orono, Maine, in 2022 with a gift from the family of Matthew R. Simmons.

The scholarship supports University of Maine students working for the offshore wind team at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center who demonstrate Matthew R. Simmons’s vision to make Maine a leader in offshore wind. Scholarship recipients must help organize the annual Matthew R. Simmons Windstorm Challenge and the AFloat Summit.

One or more annual awards for up to $5,000 will be given. Students are encouraged to apply each year. Applications are Closed for 2022. For more information, please contact

2023 Windstorm Challenge Curriculum

This curriculum was designed to help guide teams through the Windstorm Challenge. You’ll learn about sustainability, renewable energy and floating offshore wind!

Micro-Credential Curriculum

Follow the pathway for the Windstorm Challenge Microcredential! Available for those not participating in the pathway!

UMS Photo Release Agreement

We ask that all participants have a signed photo release form prior to the Windstorm Storm Challenge.

Help Support the Windstorm Challenge

It’s important to keep this event free to all Maine students! Sponsorship helps support material costs, travel assistance, curriculum development and more! Thank you for helping us shape the next generation of engineers and climate solution driven students!