State Governor announces $4.5 Million (€4.10 Million) investment by Ørsted, Eversource to grow Rhode Island's Offshore Wind workforce and supply chain
Following the recent announcement (see previous blog) of funds for Rhode Island supply chain and training, a new investment has been pledged by Ørsted US Offshore Wind and Eversource – the team behind the Revolution Wind project – to support offshore wind education and supply chain development for the growing offshore wind industry in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo says, "Ørsted and Eversource's commitments, as part of their Revolution Wind offshore wind farm, will expand our efforts already underway to build our talent pool and provide opportunities for college students in Rhode Island to study for a career in offshore wind," said Governor Raimondo. "When they are ready to work, we will have plenty of jobs for them in our growing offshore wind supply chain, right here in Rhode Island."
A Commitment to Training
Ørsted and Eversource have committed to invest $4.5 million locally, with a $3 million investment in higher education around offshore wind programs led by the University of Rhode Island, which has established a reputation as a leader in ocean engineering, environmental science and other marine-related fields. URI will be working in partnership with other institutions of higher learning in the state.
Ørsted and Eversource will invest an additional $1.5 million, designated to the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, to support the development of Rhode Island's offshore wind supply chain and workforce. These investments will position Rhode Island to become a leader in the growing American offshore wind industry.
Revolution Wind Farm
The Revolution Wind project is an ambitious 700+ MW array which will deliver 400 MW to Rhode Island and 304 MW to Connecticut, first power delivery expected in 2023.
"Revolution Wind is the exciting next chapter for offshore wind in the state that launched this new American industry," said Ørsted US Offshore Wind Co-CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. "We stand ready to make major investments in our home state to make sure Rhode Island students, and the state's supply chain, are ready for this new clean-jobs sector."
"The Revolution Wind project will help Rhode Island secure a cleaner and more affordable energy future," said State Energy Commissioner Carol Grant. "Ørsted's investments in higher education and workforce development will provide a much-needed pathway for people who want to be ready for the fast-growing offshore wind industry and capture the many job opportunities that will be here soon."
NewEnergy Updates’s research suggested that areas of the supply chain and workforce were a potential bottleneck to unleashing the full potential of OW on the Eastern seaboard. These initiatives will go a long way to ensuring that the necessary trained staff will be available and smaller local companies will be ready to participate in this new market.
"As the home of the country's first offshore wind farm, Rhode Island is a pioneer in this important field," said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "It is imperative that we continue to invest in the educational and workforce initiatives that will strengthen Rhode Island's position as the epicentre of the off-shore wind industry, and this funding contributes in exactly this way. We thank Ørsted and Eversource for their partnership in this effort and we look forward to advancing together."
Key Stakeholder Partner
A key local organisation is Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training, which partners with businesses and training institutions to create jobs. "Growing a workforce to meet the demand of a burgeoning industry in the state is how we make Rhode Island's economy resilient," said Department of Labor and Training Director Scott Jensen. "With two Real Jobs RI wind partnerships, we are ready to help companies gear up for opportunities within the sector, and, at the same time, help Rhode Islanders connect with an exciting career."
In February, National Grid filed its proposed power-purchase contract with Ørsted and Eversource for the 400-megawatt (MW) Revolution Wind offshore wind farm with the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for review. Ørsted and Eversource's investments are subject to the PUC's decision on the project, which is expected by June 1st, and final permitting of the project by state and federal agencies.
If approved, Revolution Wind will generate approximately one-quarter of all the electricity used by Rhode Islanders annually and will help increase the state's clean energy portfolio ten-fold by the end of 2020. Once permits are in-hand, local construction work on Revolution Wind could begin as early as next year, with the project potentially in operation by 2023. The Revolution Wind project will be located in federal waters approximately 15 miles South-east of the New England coast.
The project – originally developed by Providence-based Deepwater Wind, which has since been acquired by global offshore wind leader Ørsted – is expected to create more than 800 direct construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs for Rhode Islanders at every skill level. Hundreds more jobs will be supported indirectly as the region's burgeoning offshore wind industry takes off.
In March 2017, Governor Raimondo set an ambitious goal to accelerate Rhode Island's adoption of green energy and make the state's energy system ten-times cleaner by 2020. Revolution Wind was selected through an open and competitive market procurement that attracted both domestic and international project developers. If approved by the PUC, this offshore wind project will more than double Rhode Island's existing clean energy portfolio.
This is a timely, and favourable development for the US OW sector. It will likely be copied by other states looking to develop their wind potential.
All this and more will be discuss at the 4th Annual US Offshore Wind Conference, June 10-11, 2019 in Boston. Find out more here.