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What is “Energy & Resource Alternatives”?

Today, more than ever, the negative environmental and economic impact of using non-renewable energy resources such as fossil fuels and the benefits of renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and tidal energy, and biofuels that are grown and harvested without fossil fuels are well known. A strong consensus in the scientific community has affirmed that non-renewable energy is less accessible, reliable, safe, and clean than renewable alternatives. Climate change, caused by human production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, has already had observable effects on the environment (i.e., shrunked glaciers, shifts in plant and animal ranges, accelerated sea level rise). In the long term, climate change threaten agriculture, endanger clean drinking water, and aid in the spread of disease.

The Challenge

The challenge for this category is to encourage the adoption of clean energy and resource alternatives that are sustainable and have the potential for broad impact. Proposals may focus on the design, development, or delivery of sustainable energy solutions and can be domestic or international in scope. However, all proposals should clearly demonstrate the relationship between the proposed intervention and its impact on the environment.

Solutions may focus on several areas, including but not limited to: (1) clean, renewable energy technology; (2) land/watershed management; (3) climate change adaptation; (4) ecosystem recovery and/or maintenance; (5) source reduction/waste prevention.

Examples of proposals that would fit into this category include:

  • A project to accelerate governance, policies, laws, or commerce to spur clean energy alternatives.
  • A program to create economic growth based on alternative energy production.
  • A proposal that integrates carbon sequestration into the design process to create better, more environmentally beneficial, buildings.
  • An initiative focused on low-cost clean energy solutions that foster adaptation and resilience to climate change.


The “Clean & Sustainably Energy Alternatives” category is open to all matriculated undergraduate and graduate students at UC Berkeley.  Multidisciplinary teams are strongly encouraged.  For additional information about general contest rules, timing, and how to apply, please refer to the Contest Application Requirements.

Past Winners

Rotors in Motion

Smart Building

More Winners


The Berkeley Energy & Climate Institute (BECI)
BECI acts as a central coordinating hub for energy and climate efforts at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley Labs and to integrate interdisciplinary energy and climate efforts.

The Blum Center for Developing Economies
The Blum Center links world-class faculty, inspiring new curriculum, and innovative technologies, services and business models to create real-world solutions for developing economies.