UMass Amherst to Launch Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind

UMass Amherst has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to establish and lead the Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind (ARROW), a new, multi-million-dollar national center of excellence to accelerate reliable and equitable offshore wind-energy deployment across the nation and produce a well-educated domestic offshore wind workforce.

Led by UMass Amherst with approximately 40 partners, ARROW will receive $4.75 million over five years from the the DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and has also received a matching commitment of $4.75 million from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The state of Maryland, the second center of gravity of the proposal with participation from Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University, is contributing $1 million from the Maryland Energy Administration. Other universities are contributing $1.4 million for a total budget of $11.9 million.

Sanjay Arwade, professor of Civil Engineering at UMass Amherst, is director of the new center, with faculty in the university’s Wind Energy Center serving 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. “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 toward a clean and renewable energy future.”

The center will be a university-led education, research, and outreach program for offshore wind that prioritizes energy equity and principles of workforce diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. With technical specialization in the reliability and resilience of offshore wind infrastructure, transmission, and supply chain, ARROW has three key goals:

• Empower the next generation of U.S.-based offshore wind professionals. Not only does this include training for offshore wind professionals, but it will also enhance the ability of U.S. institutions to deliver comprehensive offshore wind education and establish global leadership in offshore wind education. The center will advance the education of 1,000 students over the initial five-year life of the center.

• Innovate with impactful research for a reliable and resilient offshore wind system built on rigorous treatment of uncertainty. Research will focus on infrastructure, atmospheric and ocean conditions, and marine and human ecology.

• Engage with communities to get input from the wide diversity of stakeholders who make up the offshore wind ecosystem. This includes wind-energy companies, grid operators, manufacturers, nonprofits, insurance companies, and advanced technology developers in order to arrive at inclusive and just deployment of offshore wind solutions.

This academic and training hub will help drive progress toward the Biden-Harris administration’s national goals of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, 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,” said Jeff Marootian, principal deputy assistant secretary for 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.”

ARROW comprises eight universities, three national laboratories, two state-level energy offices, and many industry and stakeholder groups in other areas of Massachusetts as well as Illinois, Maryland, Washington, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico.