University of Delaware announces initiative to help states explore offshore wind energy

The University of Delaware has announced an initiative to help states take advantage of offshore wind technology.

The Special Initiative on Offshore Wind will be housed at the UD’s College of Earth, Ocean and the Environment, officials said Tuesday at an industry conference in Boston.

The program will provide technological, financial and strategic advice to states considering offshore wind, and will help create customized policy models, the school reported. The program will connect states with experts abroad, especially in Europe, where 2,000 wind turbines are installed in the ocean.

“As a research university, it is our role to be the nexus for partnerships among private sectors, NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and government,” said Charles Riordan, vice provost for research at UD, at the Offshore Wind Power USA conference.

“We are able to serve economic development that joins cutting-edge science and technology with a commitment to clean energy and industry support. We see the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind as being a neutral party that can bring all of the interested parties to the table, while having the in-house expertise to provide a sound basis for discussion,” Riordan said.

The independent, non-commercial offshore wind program will be supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Offshore wind is “the most powerful potential carbon-reducing energy source for East Coast states,” said the project’s creator, Stephanie McClellan. “Wide deployment of offshore wind in the U.S. can revitalize coastal industry and ports, reduce pollution and creates tens of thousands of jobs – as it has done in northern Europe and the United Kingdom.”

McClellan joined UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment in January to direct this project and most recently worked for the Google-financed Atlantic Wind Connection, which seeks to build a Mid-Atlantic offshore energy transmission system. She previously was Gov. Jack Markell’s policy director.