STARTUP CHALLENGE: MARINE MAMMALS

Three companies have been selected for the Offshore Wind Challenge: protecting marine mammals

SICdrone, Night Vision Technology Solutions and Open Ocean Robotics have been the three companies selected to carry out their pilot project in the Startup Challenge launched last April — by Vineyard Wind, an Iberdrola affiliate company — in which we called for technology with the ability to minimise the impact offshore wind farms may have on local marine mammals. The winner will take part in a startup accelerator program run by Greentown Labs.

The Vineyard Wind enterprise — 50 % owned by the Iberdrola group through its US subsidiary Avangrid — has teamed up with Greentown Labs to seek out startups developing innovative marine mammal monitoring techniques: tracking, data gathering, real-time data transmission and analysis. The aim is to better preserve the wildlife surrounding the Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm, an 800 MW facility to be developed by Iberdrola off the coast of Massachusetts.

This aim is what drove the collaboration last April to launch the Offshore Wind Challenge, a six-month accelerator program which involves boosting innovative solutions that enable the sustainable development of offshore wind power.

Each pilot plan will focus on collecting and analysing environmental data offshore. The focus of this challenge is to enhance real-time monitoring capabilities of marine mammals and other protected species, a critical challenge in the responsible development of offshore wind.

The selected companies are:

SICdrone  

Based in Massachusetts, SICdrone 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, Night Vision Technology Solutions 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, Open Ocean Robotics 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.

During these workshops, Greentown Labs will introduce them to their in-house resources and lead the workshop sessions covering a wide range of practical business knowledge paired with focused sessions around the needs of OSW provided by our team and other industry experts as needed.

WHAT ARE THE INITIATIVE'S GOALS?

The challenge is aimed to enhance real-time detection of marine mammals in one of the world's most challenging, remote environments: the ocean.

The goals of the initiative are:

  • Increase safety, reduce environmental impacts, increase protections to sensitive habitats, and create work stream efficiencies.
  • To boost line efficiency with new technology enabling compliance with environmental standards within shorter deadlines.

WHAT COMPANIES WERE ABLE TO APPLY?

Startups that develop innovative technology to enhance real-time data collection and analysis. All projects submitted must meet the following requirements:

  • The data collected must provide accurate and reliable information on marine mammal monitoring.
  • The procedure has to be efficient, safe and environmentally friendly.
  • Their technology must conform to existing best practice in data management and to public policies.

THE PRIZE

The Offshore Wind Challenge will be a chance for the startups selected to take part in a six-month accelerator program run by Greentown Labs, the largest clean technology incubator in North America. This includes:

 Exclusive access to the networks managed by Greentown Labs and Vineyard Wind, plus the chance to connect with a variety of organisations and offshore energy suppliers.

 The benefits of being tutored by the world's top engineers, scientists and specialists in offshore wind power permits

 Taking part in training and programming workshops through partnerships with Greentown Launch.

 Exploring potential collaborations with Vineyard Wind.

 Becoming members of Greentown Labs throughout the entire program, with office space to work in.