Climate tech startup incubator Greentown Labs and Vineyard Wind, developer of the first utility-scale offshore wind energy generation facility in the United States, have selected three startups for their Offshore Wind Challenge.
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.
Greentown Labs and Vineyard Wind sought submissions from startups that are innovating in marine mammal monitoring, either surrounding data collection and real-time transmission or data analysis aimed at supporting the responsible development of the offshore wind industry off the coast of Massachusetts, and 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.
Out of the sixty applications, 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, which 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 oceans using solar-powered, self-driving boats that travel oceans for months at a time while collecting ocean data.
Vineyard Wind is working on the United States’ first utility-scale offshore wind project off Massachusetts’ coast, which will provide power for over 400,000 homes and businesses and eliminate 1.68 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
The company says it 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.
Lars T. Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind: “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.”
"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.
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.
“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.”