Massachusetts Trio Connects for Offshore Wind

Image source: UMass Dartmouth

Three Massachusetts-based institutions for higher education have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), called Connect4Wind, to share resources and collaborate on the development of curriculum and programs centered on the offshore wind energy sector.

Through the agreement, Bristol Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth aim to develop a better understanding of the workforce requirements of existing models of offshore wind and deepen the understanding of offshore wind as a new industry sector with an appropriate supply chain model.

The Connect4Wind creates a framework for cooperative efforts and specifically includes:

  • Student Participation: Inclusion in degree or non-degree granting offshore wind academic programs at each partner institution;
  • Research Collaborations: Each institution will encourage research collaborations in areas of mutual interest;
  • Visit of Faculty Members: An institution’s faculty members will submit teaching or research proposals for establishing visiting lectures, presentations and services at partner institutions;
  • Shared Facility Utilization: Parties will identify specific teaching and research facilities to be made available for the utilization at their respective institutions.

“Today, we celebrate a long-term shared commitment in the development of our region’s workforce,” said Bristol Community College President Laura L. Douglas.

“For Bristol Community College, this is one of several partnerships that further solidifies our commitment to offshore wind training and the creation of jobs. It also ensures that the region’s higher education institutions will be able to support the regions offshore wind industry with highly-skilled workers, innovative training programs, and the shared-use of specialized facilities, well into the future.”

The US Department of Energy estimates 43,000 new jobs will be created in the offshore wind market by 2030. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center recently published an assessment of the jobs and economic impacts associated with development of 1,600MW in Massachusetts. That study estimated that over the next decade, offshore wind farms will create nearly 3,000 jobs and generate economic impacts between USD 1.4 billion and USD 2.1 billion.

“The opportunity to connect the Academy’s expertise in energy and the maritime industries with Bristol Community College and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s expertise in workforce training and research, stands to propel Massachusetts into a leadership role in offshore wind nationwide” said Admiral Francis X. McDonald, President, Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

In 2016, Massachusetts enacted legislation requiring Eversource and National Grid to purchase 1,600MW of electricity generated from offshore wind farms located in the Atlantic Ocean south of Martha’s Vineyard. The 800MW Vineyard Wind project was selected to proceed in the recent competitive bid procedure.

“UMass Dartmouth looks forward to building this partnership with Bristol Community College and Massachusetts Maritime Academy to accelerate the development of the offshore wind industry through innovation,” UMass Dartmouth Interim Dean and Professor, College of Engineering Ramprasad Balasubramanian said. “Offshore wind will be a cornerstone of a regional blue economy corridor that expands opportunity for people and communities across the region.”

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