Massachusetts opens first training facility for offshore wind workers

Source: By Erin Tiernan, Boston Globe • Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2019

FIRST OFFSHORE WIND FARM: Three wind turbines from the Deepwater Wind project stand in the Atlantic Ocean off Block Island, R.I.

Ahead of launching the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm, state officials marked the opening of the first facility in the nation that will train workers in the emerging offshore-wind industry.

“This facility is an example of how all things maritime can meet the energy sector,” said Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, president of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne, which is operating the new training facility.

“This is the start of something very big, very sustainable and very important,” Gov. Charlie Baker said at Mass Maritime.

The facility is the only one in the U.S. that is accredited to provide a full safety training program required for workers in offshore wind, something Baker said uniquely positions Massachusetts to become a major player in offshore wind.

Vineyard Wind is installing two 400-megawatt turbines about 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

Over the next few years Massachusetts will pursue two more projects that could bring another 2,400 megawatts of wind power to the state.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates 43,000 new jobs will be created in the offshore wind market by 2030. A recent study by the  Massachusetts Clean Energy Center estimates that over the next decade, offshore wind farms will create up to 3,000 jobs and generate economic impacts between $1 billion and $2 billion in the region.

The facility supports safety training for workers moving from relatively small crew transfer vessels to the fixed support structures of wind turbines in the open seas and is open to Mass Maritime cadets, as well as skilled labor including electricians, pile drivers, divers and welders, enabling them to work in the emerging offshore wind industry.