It was announced today that Deepwater Wind is pledging funding for the establishment of a new Blue Economy Initiative at the University of Massachusetts, which will develop an independent research portfolio on how offshore wind farms can coexist with other ocean-based industries, with particular emphasis on commercial fishing.
Deepwater Wind is committing $1 million over five years to sponsor the Blue Economy Initiative, which will be led by the UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology via the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute.
Independent researchers at the Marine Fisheries Institute will be tasked with establishing a research portfolio that seeks to advance both offshore wind development and the fishing industry in the decades to come.
“The growth of offshore wind energy in the U.S. provides researchers with a tremendous opportunity to examine this new industry and how it can coexist with other ocean users, particularly commercial fishermen,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “We’re proud to support this new Blue Economy Initiative at UMass, which is perfectly positioned to produce leading-edge research that will guide the continuing development of the offshore wind industry.”
“This is an important example of industry-academic collaboration that advances a mutual interest in understanding the intersection of ocean-based industries and advanced technologies,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “It also further strengthens the university’s position, and that of the UMass Dartmouth’s School of Marine Science in particular, as a national center of excellence in research of ocean industries.”
“As the Commonwealth continues to progress towards a clean energy future, our world class colleges and universities will play a crucial role in producing the next generation of innovators and scientific research," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Partnerships between institutions of higher education and private industry will continue to position Massachusetts as a leader in environmental protection, emerging technologies, and workforce development.”
“Our world-class UMass Dartmouth scientists, in collaboration with their colleagues across the UMass system, will contribute unparalleled expertise and credibility as the Commonwealth becomes the hub of offshore wind while protecting our priceless fisheries,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson. “This agreement with Deepwater Wind is an example of how the university and industry can partner to strengthen our blue economy while protecting our environment.”
“As New Bedford continues to position itself as a center for the offshore wind industry, it will be critical to strengthen our capacity to perform basic and applied research needed by the industry,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. “Deepwater Wind’s investment in SMAST reflects the company’s incisive recognition of this need and its commitment to the city.”
“The relationship between the emerging offshore wind industry and commercial fishing in New Bedford is vital towards ensuring significant local job creation and economic development for years to come,” said Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), who authored key offshore wind amendments to the 2016 omnibus renewable energy legislation. “Dynamic public-private partnerships between key stakeholders like SMAST and Deepwater Wind are critical to advancing these initiatives, and the excellent caliber of researchers at UMass Dartmouth will serve this endeavor well.”
“UMass Dartmouth and SMAST have led the way, fostering critical relationships with industry leaders in the fields most important to our region,” said Representative Antonio F. D. Cabral (D-New Bedford). “Deepwater Wind’s investment taps into SMAST’s substantial research capacity and unites the commercial fishing and offshore wind industries in a novel way. New Bedford is bound for success.”
The Initiative’s researchers will delve into areas such as offshore wind siting, wind resource assessment, energy forecasting, supply chain development, technological innovations and the intersection of offshore wind, commercial fishing and shipping, among other topics.
“The Blue Economy Initiative will provide UMass faculty and their students with real-world data points and experiential learning about one of the country’s most exciting new industries,” said Deepwater Wind Massachusetts Vice President Matthew Morrissey. “We look forward to seeing the results of this research effort in the years to come.”
“This agreement recognizes the unique expertise of the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) faculty in the areas of marine habitats, fisheries, ocean observation and modelling, as well as other fields that are critical to every stage of offshore wind development,” said SMAST Dean Steven Lohrenz. “Meanwhile, our sister campuses stand ready to contribute their expertise in turbine design, blade materials, and other technology innovation areas. Deepwater Wind is to be commended for shaping and funding this initiative in a way that brings the best science, as well as diverse stakeholder perspectives, to the table.”
“We appreciate Deepwater Wind’s willingness to invest in science, and its confidence in our ability to develop a research framework that will help commercial fishing, offshore wind, and other coastal industries co-exist to form a vibrant blue economy,” said Dr. Kevin Stokesbury, a professor at the UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology and Research Director for the Massachusetts Fisheries Institute.
The sponsorship agreement is contingent on the approval of Deepwater Wind’s Revolution Wind project by state utilities.