Record growth continues for renewable energy sources, with Offshore Wind (OSW) nearly quadrupling in size over the past decade. The United States Department of Energy estimates 43,000 new jobs will be created in the offshore wind market by 2030. The growth potential is exponential. There are 15 projects in the U.S. offshore pipeline that have reached the permitting phase, and eight states have set offshore wind energy procurement goals for a total of 39,298 MW by 2040.

This expanding energy source cannot sustain its growth and viability without strict safety measures and first-rate training for the individuals who will be building the infrastructure for the developing OSW industry. Windfarm developers are making it clear that anyone working on their sites must complete Basic Safety Training (BST).

The Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) is at the forefront of developing facilities and programs focusing on these critical needs. In 2018, MMA received funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to build a Global Wind Organisation (GWO) Training Center at the Academy’s Maritime Center for Responsible Energy (MCRE). The GWO Training Center consists of waterfront Crew Transfer Training Facility (CTTF), a 25-foot Crew Transfer Training Vessel, and a Working at Heights training facility. At the end of 2019, MMA began offering the globally recognized GWO BST at its Cape Cod campus, becoming the first facility in the nation to offer all five modules of GWO BST for Offshore Wind.

The GWO BST course, developed and offered in partnership with RelyOn Nutec, an established leader in the offshore wind industry, consists of five modules: Working at Heights, First Aid, Fire Awareness, Manual Handling, and Sea Survival. The modules are taught by MMA instructors whose goal is to have participants gain an awareness of the hazards encountered when working in the wind industry and how to control and mitigate against those hazards. 

Already MMA has trained more than 120 individuals in key skills that help workers keep safety top of mind and prepare them for the hazards they may face. One of the first organizations to take advantage of the MMA training is the Pile Drivers and Divers Local 56, the marine construction local of the North Atlantic States Carpenters Union. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center is sponsoring Local 56 members’ participation with a $100,000 Workforce Development Grant. The North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund (NASCTF) has co-sponsored training with an addition $50,000. So far, 39 members have graduated from the course, including three at the instructor level, and an additional 24 individuals are scheduled to participate in October and November.

In addition, 24 members of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 7 (Boston) and Local 37 (Providence) as well as employees of Vineyard Wind, Orsted, Dominion Energy, GE, and Siemens Gamesa have all participated in GWO Basic Safety Training at MMA.

Training consists of both classroom and practical exercises. Participants acquire knowledge and confidence by learning the practical skills they need through practice. Students learn the proper use of personal protective equipment, emergency equipment, and procedures with the end result being able to appropriately respond in the event of an emergency.

Every group that has gone through the training has been exceptional. The participants are highly skilled professionals who understand the importance of safety in this industry. It’s MMA’s honor to help them prepare for the next phase in their careers.

To learn more about Offshore Wind training at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, go here.