UMass Amherst Launches Center for Offshore Wind

offshore wind farm in ocean

(Credit: Unsplash)

by | Feb 16, 2024

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The University of Massachusetts Amherst is leading the development of the Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind (ARROW), a new multimillion-dollar center that aims to accelerate offshore wind energy.

The center will be led by universities and serve to be an education, research, and outreach program for offshore wind.

UMass Amherst was selected by the Department of Energy to establish the center, and ARROW will receive $4.75 million over five years from the DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office plus a matching commitment of $4.75 million from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The project has roughly 40 partners, including the Maryland Energy Administration, which is contributing $1 million to ARROW, and other universities, which are contributing $1.4 million for a total budget of $11.9 million.

The center’s partners include eight universities, three national laboratories, two state-level energy offices, plus industry and stakeholder groups in Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, Washington, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico.

ARROW has three main goals, including:

  1. Empowering the next generation of U.S.-based offshore wind professionals
  2. Conduct impactful research focused on infrastructure, atmospheric and ocean conditions, and marine and human ecology
  3. Engage with communities for input from a range of stakeholders across the offshore wind ecosystem, including wind energy companies, grid operators, manufacturers, non-profits, insurance companies, and advanced technology developers

The center and its funding align with the Biden administration’s aim to reach 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, as well as longer-term goals such as a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035, and net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050.

“Offshore wind can play a major role in decarbonizing the U.S. electric grid, and meeting its potential will require skilled workers to propel us forward,” Jeff Marootian, principal deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, said in a statement. “This consortium will provide timely and relevant training and education to help foster the domestic offshore wind workforce of tomorrow and secure a clean energy future for all Americans.”

Sanjay Arwade, professor of civil engineering at UMass Amherst, will serve as director of the new center, and faculty from UMass Amherst’s Wind Energy Center will serve as co-principal investigators and senior personnel of the research team.

“We at UMass Amherst and the Wind Energy Center are honored to be recognized by DOE with this award,” Arwade said in a statement. “With the entire, extraordinary ARROW team we’re excited to build upon 50 years of achievement in wind energy research and education and move the nation towards a clean and renewable energy future.”

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