Greentown Labs and Vineyard Wind Announce Offshore Wind Challenge Startup Participants

Greentown Labs and Vineyard Wind Announce Offshore Wind Challenge Startup Participants

Startups will participate in accelerator program to develop data monitoring technologies focused on protecting marine mammals

Somerville, Mass., Aug. 12, 2020 LINK — Greentown Labs, the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, and Vineyard Wind, developer of the first utility-scale offshore wind energy generation facility in the United States, have selected three startups for the Offshore Wind Challenge. The startups will focus on innovations in marine mammal monitoring through data collection, real-time transmission, and analysis. The advancement of their technologies will support the responsible development of the offshore wind industry off the coast of Massachusetts, and well beyond.

The Challenge, run by Vineyard Wind and Greentown Labs with support from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), received more than 60 applications from around the globe. After a highly competitive recruitment and deliberation process, the partners are pleased to announce that the following three companies have been selected to participate in the Offshore Wind Challenge and apply their technologies to near, real-time marine mammal detection:

  • SICdrone, based in Massachusetts, builds offshore-capable aerial drone systems that can fly in harsh weather conditions, eliminating weather delays for critical inspection and monitoring at sea.  
  • Night Vision Technology Solutions, based in Rhode Island, is a high-technology provider of thermal and visible camera systems designed for offshore wind, search and rescue, threat detection, and situational awareness.
  • Open Ocean Robotics, based in British Columbia, makes it cheaper, easier, and safer to understand our oceans using solar-powered, self-driving boats that travel oceans for months at a time while collecting ocean data.

Based at Greentown Labs, which is headquartered in Somerville, Mass., the Offshore Wind Challenge is a six-month accelerator program focused on providing entrepreneurs with the connections, business and technical resources they need to commercialize their technologies. In addition to receiving direct support from Vineyard Wind and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Challenge also draws on the knowledge and expertise of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the New England Aquarium

Vineyard Wind is pioneering the United States’ first utility-scale offshore wind project off Massachusetts’ coast, which will provide clean power for over 400,000 homes and businesses and eliminate 1.68 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Vineyard Wind is committed to responsibly developing and operating the project, including by protecting North Atlantic right whales and other marine species that live off the Northeast’s coast.

“We take our responsibility as ‘first movers’ in the U.S. offshore wind industry very seriously and are always looking for ways to implement new technologies that reduce impacts to the environment and marine life,” said Lars T. Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind. “We’re grateful to Greentown Labs for their partnership and to all of the applicants for their work and passion. We look forward to seeing the development of these technologies and how they can assist our work and mission.” 

Over the next six months, the startups participating in the Offshore Wind Challenge will benefit from mentoring, networking opportunities, educational workshops, and partnership-focused programming through Greentown Launch, Greentown Labs’ flagship corporate partnerships accelerator platform. Within this framework, the Offshore Wind Challenge will help startups explore potential partnership outcomes with Vineyard Wind, including piloting their technologies in Vineyard Wind’s Massachusetts lease waters. Furthermore, participants will receive Greentown Labs membership for the duration of the program.

“We’re thrilled to receive more than 60 applications from around the world and we are excited to support the three selected startups as they work alongside experts from Vineyard Wind, MassCEC, and other leading organizations in the marine and offshore wind industries,” said Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. “The success of the burgeoning offshore wind industry is critical to our progress toward a decarbonized future, and the Offshore Wind Challenge will drive the development and ultimate deployment of new innovations that will simultaneously protect marine life in our oceans and accelerate the new industry’s growth on the U.S. East Coast, and beyond.” 

MassCEC, a pillar in Massachusetts’ cleantech ecosystem, has been leading the state’s offshore wind initiatives and technical analyses in close collaboration with policymakers, regulators, developers, industry, and stakeholders since 2009. MassCEC is an enabling partner for the Offshore Wind Challenge, providing grant funding, expertise, and in-kind support for startup pilot projects in Vineyard Wind’s lease areas in Massachusetts’ waters. 

“Research and innovation are critical components in our toolkit for advancing the responsible development of offshore wind,” said Steve Pike, CEO of MassCEC. “We are pleased to support the testing and validation of these new technologies for marine mammal protection in real-world conditions.”

WHOI and the New England Aquarium will also support the program, including through participation in major program events and workshops. 

“With the offshore wind industry emerging right in our backyard, WHOI is looking forward to participating in the research, technology, and entrepreneurship accelerated by the Offshore Wind Challenge to help drive forward the responsible development of the offshore wind industry in the Northeast U.S. and beyond,” said Dr. Rick Murray, WHOI’s Deputy Director and Vice President for Research. 

“The New England Aquarium is committed to environmentally responsible offshore wind development and believes innovative technologies are a critical part of both monitoring and safeguarding ocean animals during turbine construction and their ultimate operations,” said Dr. John Mandelman, Vice President and Chief Scientist for the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium. “We are pleased to offer our ocean science expertise to help guide innovators in this Offshore Wind Challenge to better understand and minimize potential impacts.”

All participants in the program will receive:

  • Acceptance into Greentown Launch, a six-month partnerships acceleration program for startups, hosted at Greentown Labs, the largest climatetech incubator in North America
  • A structured platform to explore potential partnership outcomes with Vineyard Wind
  • Exclusive access to the Greentown Labs and Vineyard Wind networks
  • Funding and access to MassCEC’s New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal for ocean validation of technologies
  • Greentown Labs membership for the duration of the six-month accelerator program
  • Mentorship, networking opportunities, and partnership-focused programming from the Greentown Labs ecosystem of cleantech and climatetech startup experts
  • Access to mentorship from the world’s leading offshore wind engineers, scientists, and permitting specialists
  • Access to various offshore wind organizations and suppliers

The Offshore Wind Challenge will feature over 40 hours of intensive business training, hands-on mentorship from industry experts, and a unique model of startup-and-corporate relationship building. The Offshore Wind Challenge partners will host a final showcase in 2021 to share startup progress, accomplishments, and successful results of working closely with Vineyard Wind, Greentown Labs, and MassCEC throughout the program.

About Greentown Labs

As the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, Greentown Labs brings together startups, corporates, investors, politicians, and many others with a focus on scaling climate solutions. Driven by the mission of providing ground-breaking startups the resources, knowledge, connections, and equipment they need to thrive, Greentown Labs offers prototyping and wet lab space, shared office space, a machine shop, an electronics lab, software and business resources, a large network of corporate customers and investors, and more. Greentown Labs’ 100,000-square-foot campus in Somerville, Mass. is home to more than 100 startups and has supported more than 280 startups since the incubator’s founding in 2011. These startups have collectively created more than 6,500 direct jobs and have raised more than $850 million in funding. For more information, please visit www.greentownlabs.com or Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

About Vineyard Wind

Vineyard Wind LLC is an offshore wind development company seeking to build the first large-scale offshore wind energy project in the U.S., to be located 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Vineyard Wind, based in New Bedford, Mass., is 50 percent owned by funds of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and 50 percent by Avangrid Renewables. For more information, visit www.vineyardwind.com

About MassCEC

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is dedicated to growing the state’s clean energy economy while helping to meet the Commonwealth’s clean energy, climate, and economic development goals. Since its inception in 2009, MassCEC has helped clean energy companies grow, supported municipal clean energy projects, and invested in residential and commercial renewable energy installations creating a robust marketplace for innovative clean technology companies and service providers. MassCEC constructed and operates the Wind Technology Testing Center and the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides chairs MassCEC’s board of directors.

Greentown Labs Media Contact:

Cayman Somerville
Chief of Staff
csomerville@greentownlabs.com 
208-863-9599

Vineyard Wind Media Contact:

Andrew Doba
Communications Director
adoba@vineyardwind.com
203-850-7400

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