Deepwater Wind, developer of the U.S.’ first operating offshore wind project, is pledging funding for the establishment of a new Blue Economy Initiative at the University of Massachusetts (UMass), which will develop an independent research portfolio on how offshore wind farms can coexist with other ocean-based industries, particularly 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 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 sponsorship agreement is contingent on state utilities’ approval of Deepwater Wind’s proposed Revolution Wind facility, the university notes.
“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,” says Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind. “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,” adds Marty Meehan, UMass president.
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 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,” notes State Sen. Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford, who authored key offshore wind amendments to the 2016 omnibus renewable energy legislation, which requires utilities to competitively solicit bids for approximately 1.6 GW of offshore wind power in the state.