First-Ever National Offshore Wind Research Center

CEE Professor Andrew Myers, CEE/MIE Associate Research Professor Nathan Post, and CEE CDM Smith Professor and Department Chair Jerome Hajjar, in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a consortium of forty partners, were selected to join a first-of-its-kind $11.9 million DOE research center, Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind (ARROW), dedicated to accelerate reliable and equitable offshore wind energy deployment across the nation. It will focus on workforce development, targeted research, and partnerships and strategies to embed equity in offshore wind development.

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced the establishment of a new national center of excellence to accelerate the country’s offshore wind industry. The center, the first of its kind on offshore wind, will be known as the Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind (ARROW). The $11.9M investment will be led by the University of Massachusetts Amherst and include a 40+ partner consortium of government, industry, and academic partners, including Northeastern University. The center was created to “accelerate reliable and equitable offshore wind energy deployment across the nation,” and will accomplish these goals through three main programs. ARROW-Empower is aimed at educating over 1,000 postsecondary students on the offshore wind field. ARROW-Innovate will focus on the interdisciplinary technical research needed to grow the industry. Finally, ARROW-Engage will focus on ensuring community input, equitable distribution of benefits, and the growth of the industry’s workforce.

A mighty domestic industry in the making

The nascent US offshore wind industry has great potential, a bright future, and a lot of catching up to do, says Professor Andy Myers, the lead faculty member of Northeastern’s portion of the project. “The US has set an ambitious 30GW goal of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030. There is a huge variety of technical expertise even within engineering and the sciences needed to succeed here; this industry is coming and there is a need for a professional workforce that understands the interdisciplinarity of the engineering, atmospheric science, policy, and community engagement challenges.” The center aims to push growth in all these dimensions. “I’m really excited about how I saw this established in Europe during my sabbatical at Danish Technical University. They had all aspects of the wind energy industry within one department, which we don’t have within the US, but this center is a step in the right direction.” With committed federal and state support and enough potential wind energy available off the East Coast to meet the energy needs of the entire nation, offshore wind is a mighty domestic industry in the making.

Myers has focused much of his career on helping the US jumpstart offshore wind. In addition to his academic research, he has developed a national research agenda for offshore wind energy infrastructure with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and led and hosted conferences and workshops on the topic, such as  Offshore Wind Tech Week in 2022 and the International Offshore Wind Technical Conference in 2023. He has worked closely with the industry on a number of projects, including supporting the design and large-scale testing of a project recently named to Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2023 list.

Academia-industry partnership

In his role as Industry Exchange Program Lead, Myers will leverage his expertise in structural engineering of offshore structures and experience working with the industry. “We focus heavily on industry partnership here at Northeastern,” said Myers, pointing to the university’s co-op program and use-inspired research focus. “Often in academia, we are siloed into our specific areas of study, but the industry must pull together all these fields, from structural and mechanical engineering to policy, logistics, and atmospheric sciences, to be successful. I look forward to helping coordinate that as part of ARROW’s mission.” Myers will also serve as the Lead of the Infrastructure Thrust within the Innovate Initiative. “We are taking a full-cycle view of infrastructure: manufacturing, installation, operation, decommissioning. My specific research focuses on making sure the turbine support structures and foundations are reliable and resilient to stressors.”

In addition to Myers, Northeastern Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty members will participate in the work of the center, including Associate Research Professor Nathan Post and CDM Smith Professor and Department Chair Jerry Hajjar. They will provide expertise on design specifications, blade materials, large-scale testing, composite materials, and advanced manufacturing and AI.

Related Faculty: Andrew T. Myers, Nathan Post, Jerome F. Hajjar

Related Departments:Civil & Environmental Engineering