Deepwater Wind has pledged 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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
The sponsorship agreement is contingent on the approval of Deepwater Wind’s Revolution Wind project by state utilities.
“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.”
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 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.”
“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.