NEW BEDFORD — UMass Dartmouth is gearing up to lead a five-year, $1 million initiative to examine how offshore wind farms can coexist with commercial fishing and other industries.

Deepwater Wind, which operates a wind farm off Block Island and hopes to build a bigger one south of Martha's Vineyard, plans to bankroll the effort, which will be called the Blue Economy Initiative, the company announced on Thursday.

However, the sponsorship agreement is contingent on the approval by state utilities of Deepwater Wind's 144 megawatt, 24-turbine utility-scale Revolution Wind project.

The UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) would take the lead role on the work, via the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute.

"This agreement recognizes the unique expertise of the School for Marine Science and Technology faculty in the areas of marine habitats, fisheries, ocean observation and modelling, as well as other fields that are critical to every stage of offshore wind development," SMAST Dean Steven Lohrenz said. "Meanwhile, our sister campuses stand ready to contribute their expertise in turbine design, blade materials, and other technology innovation areas."

Deepwater's project 15 miles off the Vineyard is being paired with a 40 megawatt-hour battery storage system provided by Tesla.

--Michael P. Norton, State House News Service

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