UMass Dartmouth launches Offshore Wind Economics Project

The UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Center (PPC) launched a new initiative that directly responds to a clear need to monitor the emerging Offshore Wind (OSW) industry in United States and to analyze its economic development and workforce implications. The Offshore Wind Economics Project, or OSWEP, will be focused on developing actionable insights and evidence designed to inform evidence-based policymaking and maximize the economic and community benefits associated with current and future OSW developments in Massachusetts and beyond.

According to the PPC, as of April, 2018, the total amount of offshore wind being procured in the United States is about 4,677 MW of nameplate capacity, depending on capacity factors. Learn more here.

The OSWEP builds on the substantial expertise of the faculty and staff associated with the PPC who in recent years have undertaken comprehensive studies of the Massachusetts Maritime Economy in collaboration with the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council, the OSW developments proposed in Massachusetts and Connecticut by Vineyard Wind, and the economic and workforce implications of the full build-out of the 1,600-MW OSW solicitation currently underway in Massachusetts, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Bristol Community College, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (forthcoming).

“In recent years the Public Policy Center has become a leading source of timely policy analysis and deep insight into regional conditions and their policy implications,” noted Dr. Alex Fowler, Associate Provost for Research and Economic Development. “Our support for the Offshore Wind Economics Project reflects our sincere commitment to the University’s research and economic development mission.  OSWEP will nicely complement the extensive expertise resident in our School of Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) and College of Engineering, whose faculty and students are already conducting cutting edge research into the ecological and environmental implications of this new industry” Fowler added.

“The emergence of the OSW industry in the United States offers us a tremendous opportunity to capture and record the evolution of a brand new economic sector,” added Professor Michael Goodman, Executive Director of the Public Policy Center. “Over the past two years we have developed the deep subject matter expertise and experience that will be required to take full advantage of that opportunity. Under the leadership of our Senior Research Associate Elise Korejwa, I am confident that OSWEP will soon become the “go-to” source for timely analysis and insight into the OSW industry in the United States.

The launch of OSWEP is the latest in a series of recent developments that reflect UMass Dartmouth’s extensive and growing expertise in marine and ocean science and engineering, and its commitment to supporting efforts that help communities in the region seize the economic opportunities presented by the “Blue Economy.”

“While offshore wind research is frequently associated with engineers, oceanographers, and other natural scientists, it has become clear that there are a number of significant and high stakes issues that require the sustained attention of social scientists and policy analysts,” noted Elise Korejwa, OSWEP Project Manager and Senior Research Associate at the Public Policy Center. “The states and regions that will benefit most from this new industry will be those with the port infrastructure, skilled workforce, and proximity to the wind resources required to attract developers and capture the benefits of the emergence of a major domestic manufacturing supply chain that will be needed to support OSW developments as the industry grows to scale.”

Korejwa added: “Community leaders, economic, and workforce development practitioners, and policymakers will need actionable data and analysis in order to quickly and effectively respond to these opportunities. That is what OSWEP is designed to provide.”

This expertise will be highlighted on April 19 at a half-day conference entitled,  Catching the Next Wave: Building the Blue Economy through Innovation and Collaboration. Click here for more information.

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