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Press Release: UMass Dartmouth awarded $535,000 grant to develop ocean energy technology


UMass Dartmouth awarded $535,000 grant to develop ocean energy technology

Marine Renewable Energy Center also designated by state to manage proposed 27-square-mile test site.

Author:  Robert Lamontagne [Contact]
Date:  April 24, 2012
Department:   SMAST
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's New England Marine Renewable Energy Center (MREC) has received a $535,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to support MREC and its efforts to sustainably develop ocean energy technology in New England. This award follows an earlier grant of $175,000 to MREC for testing of existing devices this summer.

MREC has also been designated by Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan to serve as the Commonwealth's representative for managing a proposed 27-square-mile offshore technology test zone known as the National Offshore Renewable Energy Innovation Zone (NOREIZ), located in federal waters south of Massachusetts.

NOREIZ - a permanent test and demonstration area - would be the first zone of its kind in the U.S for offshore renewable energy (wind, tide, wave, etc.) technologies.  NOREIZ will enable marine renewable energy companies and research institutions to accelerate the development and commercialization of such technologies, lower research and development costs, and provide a training site for clean energy engineers, researchers, and students. Currently, the only permanent test site for marine renewable energy in the world is located in Scotland. MREC will study the NOREIZ area and develop a test site within a research lease area designated by the U.S Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  

On May 4th, MREC will host the Ocean Energy Workforce Development Summit in New Bedford, bringing together private businesses, non-profit partners, the public sector and elected officials to connect workforce training with the needs of energy employers. Additionally, this summer, MREC will oversee testing of new devices that use wave and tidal power to generate clean electricity in federal waters in Muskeget Channel off Nantucket.

"UMass Dartmouth and MREC are really leading the offshore energy revolution in the United States," said University of Massachusetts President Robert Caret. "This grant demonstrates how UMass is developing new industries that will create sustainable jobs and energy."

Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack cited a report issued by MassCEC last year, which found that nearly 5,000 clean energy companies in Massachusetts employ more than 60,000 workers. The state's clean energy sector grew more than six percent last year. "The Marine Renewable Energy Center has come into its own as a clean energy catalyst, not just in our region and state, but across the country and around the world," she said.

"The Patrick-Murray Administration is pleased to support this project as it will serve as a catalyst for bringing together entrepreneurs, researchers, and students and deliver new technologies to the marketplace, creating clean energy jobs in Massachusetts," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr.

"The Marine Renewable Energy Center is one of many research institutions in Massachusetts dedicated to propelling clean energy technologies from the drawing board to the global marketplace," said MassCEC CEO Patrick Cloney. "We look forward to continuing our partnership with MREC in their effort foster the Commonwealth's ocean energy sector."

"Massachusetts is first when it comes to renewable energy, sustainable jobs, and new technologies," said U.S. Senator John F. Kerry. "This investment rewards us for our innovation and performance and it will allow us to keep at it."
  
"I congratulate MREC on this important grant, which is proof positive of southeastern Massachusetts' global leadership in a growing industry," said U.S. Representative William Keating (D-Bourne), who will keynote the Summit next month. "I am eager to work with MREC to keep our competitive edge in this important area."

"I applaud MREC and MassCEC for coming together on this all-important issue," said Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth). "This grant is an investment that will create jobs, jumpstart a new industry and keep Massachusetts at the top of the game in clean and blue energy."

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More about MREC
The New England MREC is an organization comprised of academia, government agencies, industry, municipalities, public interest groups and concerned individuals. MREC's focus is to foster the development of ocean based renewable energy (wave, tidal, current and ocean wind). MREC is developing a network of technology developers and energy users who will collectively define the needs of this nascent industry and work to bring together the required technology, capital, infrastructure, human resources to implement ocean renewable energy in the most sustainable manner for the region. Learn more at http://www.mrec.umassd.edu.

More about the MassCEC
Created by the Green Jobs Act of 2008, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is dedicated to accelerating the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects in the Commonwealth--while creating high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts. MassCEC is a partner, clearinghouse and connector for people in the clean energy sector, making direct investments in clean energy companies, building a strong clean energy workforce, and supporting responsibly sited renewable energy projects across the Commonwealth. MassCEC works with the entire clean energy community in Massachusetts to propel promising technologies from the drawing board to the global marketplace. Join the Innovation Revolution at http://www.masscec.com.
 

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