Civic News
Energy / Federal government / Universities

A sea change may come to Maryland through a new offshore wind partnership

Johns Hopkins and Morgan State researchers are working together for ARROW, a federal initiative for academic and workforce development in clean energy.

Offshore wind. (Pexels/Kindel Media)

As the US attempts to catch up to Europe’s offshore wind production, two Baltimore-based, top-tier research universities have partnered to provide — in part — educational training.

“There’s nothing quite like what we’re doing now nationally,” said Ben Schafer, founding director of the Ralph S. O’Connor Sustainability Energy Institute (ROSEI) at Johns Hopkins University. “It’s the first of this scale for sure.”

The “it” to which Schafer refers is a center, developed as a partnership between researchers at ROSEI and nearby Morgan State University, to bolster the offshore wind industry. The collaboration is part of a recently launched national effort called the Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind (ARROW), which is led by the University of Massachusetts Amherst and includes about 40 other institutional partners.

ARROW, for which Schafer serves as associate director, was created with a $4.75 million, five-year award from the Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office. The Maryland presence is additionally supported with $1 million from the state government’s Maryland Energy Administration (MEA).

Ben Schafer in black blazer and blue striped shirt.

Ben Schafer. (Courtesy Johns Hopkins University/Will Kirk)

The Wind Energy Technologies Office develops all the wind energy solutions for the US. In tandem with that focus, ARROW will serve as an academic arm for the DOE’s energy transition, Schafer said. ARROW also provides workforce training and community engagement with industry affiliates and other related entities.

“[The center] connects us to a network of institutions — all of which are dedicated to improving and sharing resources with each other,” Schafer said. “We can educate a much broader group of people to be in the professional workforce for offshore wind.”

For the workforce training, the center will provide bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees — which haven’t been offered before, he said. In addition, hundreds of jobs will be created in the first round of offshore wind development.

“We’re really becoming the national hub for all of that training,” he said.

This center is the first step toward having critical mass and some leadership in this industry: The US  lacks a significant portion of the offshore wind sector necessary to develop offshore projects.

Emma Stoney, the MEA’s wind and water program manager, said that a robust supply chain and workforce are needed, which will require education and investment similar to ARROW.

“We can rely on the European market for this because the European market has their own goals,” she said. “They’re using their own supply chain and workforce. And it’s at capacity.”

The industry is in its infancy stage and faces a shortage of professionals overseeing projects, she added.

Citing the Vineyard Northeast Wind project in Massachusetts, she said there’s a pipeline of projects that are about to begin construction and will be operational no later than 2030.

Of the coming change, she said: “We’re trying to prepare our businesses and workforce.”

Companies: Johns Hopkins University / Morgan State University / Department of Energy / State of Maryland

Join the conversation!

Find news, events, jobs and people who share your interests on's open community Slack


Delaware daily roundup: DE in DC for 'Communities in Action'; diversifying the coffee supply chain; Invista's future

Philly daily roundup: Marketing life sciences; $819M in Q1 VC; Fortune's best places to work

Delaware daily roundup: Where to cowork in 2024; Intertrust Group rebrands; the Visitor Bureau's new website

Delaware daily roundup: Bronze Valley Venture Labs returns; AI and SaaS' future; $200K for students' health careers

Technically Media