Logo: Offshore Wind Challenge

Offshore Wind Challenge Accepting Applications

Posted by Michelle Howard

Greentown Labs and Vineyard Wind are now accepting applications for the Offshore Wind Challenge.

Greentown Labs and Vineyard Wind are seeking submissions from startups that are innovating in marine mammal monitoring, either surrounding data collection and real-time transmission or data analysis.

The Offshore Wind Challenge is a six-month accelerator program housed at Greentown Labs in Somerville, Mass., and is focused on fast-tracking entrepreneurs with the mentors and business and technical resources they need to launch or scale successful ventures with direct support from Vineyard Wind. The Offshore Wind Challenge is for startups with a technology readiness level between three and six and a proof of concept that can be brought to a state of practice. The Challenge will be supported by experts from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the New England Aquarium.

Vineyard Wind is developing the first utility-scale offshore wind project which will eliminate 1.68 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Vineyard Wind is committed to protecting North Atlantic right whales and other marine species off the northeastern United States during all phases of the project's development and operations.

"Vineyard Wind is excited to kick off the application process today for the Offshore Wind Challenge alongside our partners at Greentown Labs," said Lars T. Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind. "There is a very real opportunity for innovation regarding the data associated with marine mammal monitoring and we are fortunate to be working with a talented Greentown Labs team to engage with startups and entrepreneurs on this initiative. We look forward to carefully reviewing all submissions and eventually working with those selected for the program."

Startups selected to participate in the program will benefit from mentorship, networking opportunities, educational workshops, and partnership-focused programming through Greentown Launch, a six-month partnership acceleration program for startups provided by Greentown Labs. Within this framework, the Offshore Wind Challenge will help startups explore potential partnership outcomes with Vineyard Wind. Furthermore, participants will receive membership, including desk space, at Greentown Labs for the duration of the program.

"The offshore wind industry presents an incredible opportunity for the northeast United States and Greentown Labs is thrilled to partner with Vineyard Wind to identify technologies that will simultaneously protect marine life in our oceans and advance the industry," said Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. "We're eager to receive applications from entrepreneurs from around the world and proud to have support from WHOI and the Aquarium who will provide valuable expertise throughout the Challenge."

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is the world's largest independent organization dedicated exclusively to ocean research, engineering, and education. Established in 1930, WHOI's mission is to drive discovery and advance understanding of the ocean and its benefits to human society and the planet.

"WHOI's work at the leading edge of oceanographic research is based on a combination of deep understanding of the ocean and how it works, unmatched engineering talent that make it possible to invent and build the technologies that drive discovery, and world-class marine operations that offer extraordinary access to the sea," said Rick Murray, WHOI's Deputy Director and Vice-President for Research. "WHOI is pleased to work with Greentown Labs and support innovation and entrepreneurship emerging from renewable energy solutions like offshore wind."

Founded in 1969, the New England Aquarium protects the blue planet through public engagement, commitment to marine animal conservation, innovative scientific research, and effective advocacy for vital and vibrant oceans. The Aquarium works to safeguard endangered and threatened species both in its care and in the wild. Scientists from the Aquarium who specialize in offshore wind and marine life are providing key expertise to the Offshore Wind Challenge.

"Many of the species that regularly use the wind energy areas off the coast of Massachusetts are either experiencing significant population decline or are endangered, including the North Atlantic right whale. That means we need to be extra conscious of the project's human impact," said Vikki N. Spruill, President and CEO of the New England Aquarium. "The Aquarium looks forward to supporting this program to better understand the impact of wind energy development on our ocean life."

Applications for the Offshore Wind Challenge are due by May 31 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Interested innovators and entrepreneurs can learn more about the call for applications by visiting the website. Applicants are encouraged to attend the program kickoff event at Greentown Labs' headquarters in Somerville, Mass. on July 22.

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