The Offshore Wind Innovation Hub (OWIH) has opened and released its first call for applications. The New York-based hub was founded in mid-2022 to identify and help develop promising start-ups to drive new innovations in the offshore wind industry. The three-year initiative is backed by Equinor and bp, partners developing the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind offshore wind projects, together with Urban Future Lab (UFL), the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and the National Offshore Wind Research & Development Consortium (NOWRDC) and is supported by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).
“We’re thrilled to launch the Accelerator Program at our Offshore Wind Innovation Hub with our esteemed partners to accelerate innovation in New York’s burgeoning offshore wind industry,” says Molly Morris, president of Equinor Wind US. “The demand for offshore wind is rapidly increasing, and innovative ideas and technological advancement are needed to help the industry develop in the U.S. and beyond.”
Designed to facilitate testing opportunities, fast-track commercialization and developing strategic partnerships, startups will have access to the co-working space and programming at the hub, located in Industry City. An Accelerator Program will allow selected cohort companies to begin a six-month intensive mentoring and business development program in June.
“We’re looking for New York’s best,” states Dave Lawler, chairman and president of bp America. “We know innovation is in New Yorkers’ DNA. It’s at the core of bp, too, as we transform ourselves to reach net-zero by 2050 or sooner and help the world get there too. At this incredible moment for growing offshore wind in our country, we want to empower New York’s startups to lead the nation.”
The first call for applications is focused on finding start-ups that provide innovative technology and solutions related to the development phase of offshore wind in New York. The deadline for submission is March 27.
“We are delighted to be a part of this exciting partnership,” comments Lyndie Hice-Dunton, executive director of NOWRDC. “The Accelerator Program is a unique opportunity to help support innovative solutions for offshore wind in the U.S., as well as help build strategic partnerships within this growing industry. We are looking forward to working with this outstanding group of leaders to achieve our mutual goal of accelerating offshore wind innovation.”
The Offshore Wind Innovation Hub will also offer membership to stakeholders outside the Accelerator Program. Interested parties can apply for access to the co-working facilities in Industry City, community programming, as well as workshops and networking opportunities with industry peers. Applications to become a Community Member are open year-round.
“Equinor’s Innovation Hub will call on New York’s world-class entrepreneurial talent to develop cutting-edge technologies, and accelerate advances in the offshore wind industry,” adds NYCEDC’s COO Melissa Román Burch. “We are thrilled the Hub will partner with Venture Access NYC – an NYCEDC initiative to create a more inclusive and representative tech startup ecosystem. Together with our industry and community partners, we are building a nation-leading offshore wind ecosystem and a more inclusive future for New Yorkers.”
Equinor is the operator on behalf of its 50-50 strategic partnership with bp. Together, the companies are developing the Beacon Wind and Empire Wind projects, which will supply 3.3 GW of renewable energy to New York.
“As we solidify New York’s leadership in offshore wind, we must bolster innovation in an end-to-end ecosystem – from concept to commercialization – that supports this game-changing industry,” says Doreen M. Harris, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) president and CEO. “The launch of Equinor’s Offshore Wind Innovation Hub will build a strong network that allows new cleantech businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the time to market for their technologies, overcome industry barriers and bring forward economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.”
“Our program will help to build an offshore wind industry in New York state,” concludes Pat Sapinsley, managing director of Cleantech Initiatives at the Urban Future Lab. “Equinor and bp will need to rely on smaller players to provide innovative solutions to local issues such as permitting, data collection, modeling, and more. These companies will be in the unique position of working with Equinor to devise and deploy the best solutions for this nascent U.S. industry.”