The US Department of Energy (DOE) said on Monday (12 February) it will invest $4.75m to establish a new offshore wind research centre as the government looks to ramp up development of the renewable technology across the country.
The funding will go towards setting up the Academic Centre for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind (ARROW), led by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The centre will focus on workforce development, targeted research, and partnerships and strategies to embed equity in offshore wind development, the DOE said in a press statement.
ARROW will receive $4.75m over five years from the DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and has also received a matching commitment of $4.75m from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Centre. The state of Maryland is also contributing $1m from the Maryland Energy Administration and other universities will provide $1.4m, with the project’s total budget coming to $11.9m.
The consortium will bring together nearly 40 partners from across the US to help drive progress toward the government’s target to deploy 30GW of offshore wind by 2030, a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035, and net zero emissions nationwide by 2050.
“Offshore wind can play a major role in decarbonizing the US electric grid, and meeting its potential will require skilled workers to propel us forward,” said Jeff Marootian, principal deputy assistant secretary for the Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
“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.”
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Offshore wind in the US is still in its relative infancy compared to other nations. As the industry grows in line with national and international net-zero pathways, the DOE expects demand for workers to rise. ARROW, which comprises eight universities, three national laboratories, two state-level energy offices, and many industry and stakeholder groups, has been set up to support this workforce.
The centre will scale up educational opportunities relating to offshore wind and conduct research on infrastructure, atmospheric and ocean conditions, and marine and human ecology relating to regions with offshore wind potential, the DOE said.