Ørsted Announces $5.5 million to Support Rhode Island Higher Education Institutions with Ocean Research and Career Development

Grants to Roger Williams University, University of Rhode Island and Community College of Rhode Island will boost RI’s blue economy as part of proposed Starboard Wind offshore wind project

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – May 30, 2024 – Rhode Island’s offshore wind leader Ørsted today announced higher education grant commitments totaling $5.5 million as part of its proposed Starboard Wind project. If Starboard Wind is selected to move forward, Ørsted will provide the following grants to Rhode Island higher education institutions:

  • $2.5 million to Roger Williams University (RWU). This funding will support a partnership between RWU and the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program (NBEP) through which they will develop a proposal solicitation process focused on projects that conserve, protect, and restore habitats within the Narragansett Bay region.
  • $1 million to the University of Rhode Island (URI). The funding commitment includes $500,000 in support services for students underrepresented in the engineering field, with a focus on students who come to URI from the Community College of Rhode Island via the Engineering Transfer Program. These services could include scholarships, mentorship, internship supports, outreach, and academic supports. An additional $500,000 will support grants to five URI faculty members to engage in research over the next five years on topics such as renewable energy, biodiversity, and coastal resilience.

  • $2 million to the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). This funding will support and enhance pathways to engineering careers through scholarships and stipends, tutoring and mentoring services, internship coordination, STEM preparation services through CCRI’s secondary school networks, and other approaches developed by CCRI

“Ørsted’s partnership with Rhode Island over the past decade has helped make the Ocean State a national leader in offshore wind, and Rhode Island’s higher education institutions are a key part of this industry,” said David Ortiz, Head of Market Affairs for New England at Ørsted. “From building a pipeline of talented workers to spearheading groundbreaking ocean research, these colleges and universities are at the forefront of the clean energy revolution. As we double down on our commitment to Rhode Island, we look forward to continuing to support these partners in building a thriving blue economy for decades to come.”

Ørsted’s proposed 1,184-megawatt (MW) Starboard Wind project would deliver clean and reliable offshore wind energy at stable and affordable pricing for Rhode Island homeowners and businesses for decades. If selected, Starboard Wind would result in more than $1.1 billion of direct, private investment and expenditure in Rhode Island, which would come on top of Ørsted’s existing investments and commitments in the state.

Ørsted and Eversource are currently constructing Revolution Wind, Rhode Island’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm. Together with Starboard Wind, Ørsted’s projects would satisfy as much as three-quarters of Rhode Island’s electric demand, propelling the state toward its target of 100 percent clean energy by 2033.

“Roger Williams University is a leader in driving research, entrepreneurship, and biotechnology solutions that address Rhode Island’s coastal ecosystem health and strengthen its blue economy,” said Ioannis Miaoulis, President of Roger Williams University. “We thank Ørsted for supporting the continued work of RWU and the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program on conservation and restoration initiatives that protect and enhance Narragansett Bay.”

“From supporting our leading research projects to training and hiring our graduates, Ørsted’s partnership over the years has been incredibly valuable to the URI community,” said Marc B. Parlange, President of the University of Rhode Island. “These additional grants will have a significant impact on the important work of our students and faculty, which is integral to supporting all aspects of this growing industry. We are grateful for Ørsted’s commitment and look forward to our continued partnership.”

“Today’s CCRI students are tomorrow’s Rhode Island leaders, and Ørsted’s support has helped provide pathways to fulfilling careers shaping America’s energy future,” said Dr. Rosemary A. Costigan, Interim President of the Community College of Rhode Island. “Starboard Wind is the next chapter in Rhode Island’s clean energy story, and with Ørsted’s continued support, we know that many of the hundreds of jobs created directly in the development of this project will be filled by talented and hardworking CCRI graduates.”

Starboard Wind would create at least 3,800 full-time equivalent positions, nearly all of which would be based in Rhode Island. This includes more than 640 new direct jobs in the state, including 100 new local union construction jobs at ProvPort, where Ørsted has established an industry hub, to support the expanded construction of advanced foundation components as Rhode Island strengthens its position in the U.S. offshore wind supply chain.  

In addition to new construction roles, Starboard Wind will directly create jobs across component assembly, operations and maintenance, engineering, and other roles, as well as supporting hundreds of other jobs indirectly in Rhode Island by boosting local economic activity. The project would also employ union workers in neighboring New England states, driving regional benefits and collaboration.

Additional information about Ørsted and Starboard Wind can be found at us.orsted.com/starboard-wind.

About Ørsted
A global clean energy leader, Ørsted develops, constructs, and operates offshore and land-based wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, and bioenergy plants. Ørsted was the first energy company in the world to have its science-based net-zero emissions target validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and is recognized as the world’s most sustainable energy developer in the Corporate Knights Global 100 index.

In the United States, the company has approximately 700 employees and a portfolio of clean energy assets and partnerships that includes offshore wind energy, land-based wind energy, solar, battery storage and e-fuels. Ørsted is a U.S. leader in offshore wind energy with approximately 3 gigawatts in development and operates both America’s first offshore wind farm, located off the coast of Block Island, and the country’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm, South Fork Wind. Ørsted has a total U.S. land-based capacity of 5 gigawatts across wind, solar, storage technologies and e-fuels. To learn more about the Ørsted U.S. business, visit us.orsted.com or follow the company on X (@OrstedUS), Instagram, and Facebook.

Media Contact
Meaghan Wims