UMass Dartmouth chosen to join $11.9M federal offshore wind academic center

DARTMOUTH – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has been chosen to be part of a national team of universities and government agencies chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy to create the Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind, or ARROW, the university announced Friday.

ARROW is an $11.9 million federal initiative, led by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, to help increase equitability and reliability of offshore wind energy across the country, UMass Dartmouth said. It will also provide new education and training opportunities to help increase offshore wind workforces, the university said.

ARROW’s budget, UMass Dartmouth says, will be funded over five years, with $4.75 million each from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Funding for ARROW was also provided by a $1 million contribution from the state of Maryland’s Energy Administration in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University and $1.4 million from other partner universities, including UMass Dartmouth, the university said. The University of Massachusetts Lowell, Northeastern University and Clemson University are among other higher education institutions that are now part of ARROW, UMass Dartmouth says.

ARROW, UMass Dartmouth says, will impact offshore wind energy in three areas. It will first empower expansion of educational opportunities in offshore wind, enhancing students’ learning experiences during the center’s first five years of operation.

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Then, UMass Dartmouth says ARROW’s research will drive innovation toward a “dependable and robust” offshore wind system by focusing on infrastructure, atmospheric and oceanic conditions and marine and human ecology. Lastly, ARROW aims to engage a diverse group of stakeholders to ensure equitable deploying of offshore wind solutions.

“We are excited to join forces with these other prestigious institutions to contribute to research and education that will not only enhance the reliability of offshore wind infrastructure but also seek to develop this in a manner that will ensure the sustainability of our marine resources and habitats and benefit our diverse coastal communities,” said Steve Lohrenz, a UMass Dartmouth professor and the university’s lead on the project, in a statement.

UMass Dartmouth’s team for ARROW will include researchers and educators experienced in the marine environment, from fisheries to ocean circulation. Those individuals, the university said, will provide perspectives for understanding offshore wind impacts and how they can be mitigated. The initiative will also offer research and learning opportunities for UMass Dartmouth graduates, as well, the university added.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.