A framework for offshore wind energy innovation

UMass Dartmouth's School for Marine Science & Technology is among the various institutions that comprise the Massachusetts Research Partnership in Offshore Wind.

SMAST East by Ellenzweig
SMAST East (photo courtesy Ellenzweig).

Scientists at UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) are among the researchers collaborating with eight institutions that have been awarded funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The funding enables these academic and research institutions in the Commonwealth to pursue a plan for advancing U.S. innovation in offshore wind energy, known as POWER-US (Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Research).

The Massachusetts Research Partnership (MRP) includes the University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Bristol Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Northeastern University, Tufts University, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The MRP was established to prepare a national research agenda that aligns the efforts of federal, state, and other entities that share a vision for prosperous and green renewable energy future through offshore wind.

The MRP recently released “Reaching Convergence in U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Research: A Multidisciplinary Framework for Innovation.” The 50-page white paper details the findings of a two-year convening initiative engaging research institutions from across the country, offshore wind industry leaders and international partners to consider how to achieve the advancements in fields including engineering, atmospheric science, logistics, resources assessment and economics, among others, that are essential to developing a robust, cost-effective, sustainable US offshore wind industry.

Steven Lohrenz, Dean of SMAST stated that “UMass Dartmouth brings to the MRP extensive capacities in ocean environmental and fisheries science, which are key to advancing offshore wind in a responsible and sustainable manner.” 

More about UMass Dartmouth and SMAST

SMAST is nationally and internationally renowned for research and graduate-level education in marine sciences, ocean technology, climate change, offshore wind, & fisheries management and sustainability.

In 2016, SMAST researchers began developing a multidisciplinary framework for offshore wind research, focusing on increasing innovation and reducing costs and impacts. Initiatives include identifying workforce requirements associated with the development and construction of offshore wind projects; examining the number of jobs by trade, the health and safety training requirements for offshore wind jobs, and the economic benefits to the Commonwealth these jobs would provide; and partnering with Vineyard Wind as well as members of the regional fishing industry on the development of Vineyard Wind’s offshore wind farm.

In 2017, UMass Dartmouth was awarded $1 million over a five-year period by Deepwater Wind sponsor the Blue Economy Initiative. The research initiative, led by SMAST via the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute (a partnership between SMAST and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries) involves establishing a research portfolio that seeks to advance both offshore wind development and the fishing industry.

The initiative includes delving into the areas of 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.

More about the POWER-US initiative:

Features Blue Economy, Research, School for Marine Science and Technology