2024 2024: UMass Dartmouth partners in new $11.9M Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind

2024 2024: UMass Dartmouth partners in new $11.9M Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind
UMass Dartmouth partners in new $11.9M Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind

Center to accelerate growth and reliability of offshore wind energy

Wind Turbines in ocean

UMass Dartmouth and a national team of universities, laboratories, and governmental agencies led by the University of Massachusetts Amherst were recently selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to create the Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind (ARROW). ARROW will work to increase the reliability and equitability of offshore wind energy across the country and provide new opportunities for education and training for the growing offshore wind workforce.

ARROW’s impact on offshore wind energy will occur within three distinct areas. The first will empower a sustainable and extensive expansion of educational opportunities in offshore wind, enhancing the learning experience for thousands of students during the initial 5-year period of the Center’s operation. Next, research will drive innovation toward a dependable and robust offshore wind system by focusing on infrastructure, atmospheric and oceanic conditions, and marine and human ecology. Finally, the program aims to actively engage a diverse community of stakeholders to ensure an inclusive and equitable deployment of offshore wind solutions.

“Offshore wind can play a major role in decarbonizing the U.S. electric grid, and meeting its potential will require skilled workers to propel us forward,” said Jeff Marootian, principal deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “This consortium will provide timely and relevant training and education to help foster the domestic offshore wind workforce of tomorrow and secure a clean energy future for all Americans.”

The Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind will help meet the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035, and net zero emissions economy-wide by 2050.

“We are excited to join forces with these other prestigious institutions to contribute to research and education that will not only enhance the reliability of offshore wind infrastructure but also seek to develop this in a manner that will ensure the sustainability of our marine resources and habitats and benefit our diverse coastal communities,” said Professor Steve Lohrenz, UMass Dartmouth’s lead on the project. 

The UMass Dartmouth team includes researchers and educators with a broad range of expertise in the marine environment, from fisheries to ocean circulation. They will provide important perspectives for understanding the impacts of offshore wind and how they can be mitigated. This initiative will also provide learning and research opportunities for UMassD graduate students.

“We at UMass Amherst and the Wind Energy Center are honored to be recognized by DOE with this award,” said Sanjay Arwade, professor of civil engineering at UMass Amherst and director of the new Center. “With the entire, extraordinary ARROW team we’re excited to build upon 50 years of achievement in wind energy research and education and move the nation towards a clean and renewable energy future.”

ARROW’s $11.9M budget will be funded by $4.75M over five years from the Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and a matching commitment of $4.75M from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). Funding was also provided by a $1M contribution from the state of Maryland’s Energy Administration in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University and $1.4M from other partner universities, including UMass Dartmouth. 

“Massachusetts is leading the way in offshore wind development and innovation, and we are proud to commit $4.75 million to help build an equitable offshore wind workforce that has the skills to meet the climate challenge. We look forward to our cooperative work with the ARROW team to make the Center a success,” said Dr. Emily Reichert, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

“This award represents another important step in positioning Massachusetts and the New England region as a global leader in offshore wind,” says Rebecca Tepper, Massachusetts secretary of energy and environmental affairs. “The Healey-Driscoll Administration was proud to support this project and we are grateful for the continued investment from the Department of Energy. We look forward to working with the ARROW team on workforce development, research, and other bold strategies to advance our local offshore wind industry.”

“Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, America is once again leading the world when it comes to addressing climate change,” said Congressman James P. McGovern. “And thanks to the determination of UMass, Massachusetts is at the forefront of the push towards a clean energy future. This major announcement will drive incredible innovation, training the diverse and skilled workforce of tomorrow to achieve our goal of building a net zero emissions economy by 2050. I’m excited that the world-class students and researchers at UMass will lead efforts to decarbonize the U.S. power grid and realize the full potential of offshore wind energy.”

The ARROW team consists of Clemson University, Morgan State University, Johns Hopkins University, Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, University of Massachusetts Lowell, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, Argonne National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Maryland Energy Administration, and more than 20 other partners from community organizations and private industry.