GROTON — Offshore wind partners Ørsted and Eversource have awarded a four-year grant totalling $950,000 to Project Oceanology, a nonprofit marine science education and research facility based in Groton.
“Our focus is on STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — and our collaboration with Ørsted and Eversource will help us train the future STEM workforce in the critical fight against climate change,” said Jim McCauley, executive director of “Project O,” to a small audience of local officials on the UConn Avery Point campus Thursday afternoon.
McCauley, who has been in his position for five years, said in the first year the funding will be used to develop programs for underserved schools in southeastern Connecticut, with a goal of three elementary, three middle and three high schools. Each year the program will work to add one school at each level, with a goal of 18 schools in 2024.
Project O currently serves local Alliance Districts, the state’s lowest performing school districts, including Groton, New London, Norwich, and Middletown.
The program, which was established in 1972, will also provide professional development sessions for teachers.
Michael Ausere, vice president of business development at Eversource, told the audience that fighting climate change would require new thinking and new technologies
“That’s where Project Oceanology comes into play — we’re very excited about our partnership. Project O offers hands-on, inquiry-based science education focused on the ocean. They have a proven track record. They know how to get our children excited about science and excited about making the world a better place.”
Ausere said Ørsted and Eversource are jointly developing Revolution Wind, which will provide 304 megawatts of energy to Connecticut and 400 megawatts to Rhode Island.
David Ortiz, Ørsted’s head of market affairs for New England, said the company was proud to support educational programs like Project O, which are “invaluable to our work and our mission.”
He also said the development of the offshore wind industry will benefit manufacturers and vendors in southeastern Connecticut and pointed to Ørsted’s partnerships with ThayerMahan in Groton and Sea Services in Waterford.
State Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, told the audience that the seeds of the grant could be traced to 2018 when she brought Matt Morrissey, vice president of U.S. Markets for Ørsted, who was then the New England vice president for Deepwater Wind, to see Project O.
“One of the things they really wanted to do was become a good community member and I said I want you to come with me for the day and one of our first stops was here,” she said.
On June 8, Ørsted and Eversource announced a $1.25 million grant to Mystic Aquarium that will support research into marine mammal habitats in New England as well as educational and career opportunities for students in the region, the aquarium’s animal rescue program and a wind energy exhibit.
bolster the life-saving work of the aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program, and create a brand new, state-of-the-art exhibit centered around the potential of ocean wind energy.
Also in the audience were State Rep. Holly Cheeseman, R-East Lyme, New London Mayor Mike Passero and Groton City Deputy Mayor Gweneviere Depot.