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Press Release

Mystic Aquarium Expands Renewable Ocean Energy Exhibit with Research Partners, and Ørsted, Eversource

March 19, 2024

MYSTIC, Conn. (March 19, 2024) – Mystic Aquarium, in collaboration with partner research agencies and Ørsted and Eversource, developers of Connecticut and Rhode Island’s first large-scale offshore wind farm, Revolution Wind, today announced the expansion of its Renewable Ocean Energy exhibit to give its 800,000-plus visitors a closer look at offshore wind and the Aquarium’s research related to this emerging field.

“Climate change is one of the biggest threats to our ocean planet,” said Katie Cubina, Senior Vice President for Mission Programs. “Combatting climate change requires transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power. Mystic Aquarium is researching the potential impacts of offshore wind on marine ecosystems and wildlife to help inform the most responsible and sustainable development of offshore wind in our region. This is an incredible opportunity to explore key research questions and collect data before, during, and after the installation of Ørsted and Eversource's offshore wind energy systems in the Northeast.”

“Offshore wind is a critical solution to the existential threat that climate change poses to marine habitats and will help New England transition to clean, renewable energy sources,” said Nicole Verdi, Ørsted Senior Manager of Government Affairs & Policy, New England. “We prioritize coexistence with ocean users and marine wildlife as we responsibly build clean energy infrastructure for the region. We are proud to partner with Mystic Aquarium and support its important research in this area.”

“Transitioning to clean, sustainable, domestic energy is vital to meeting our clean energy goals,” said Ray Collins, Government Affairs & Community Relations, Offshore Wind at Eversource Energy. “We’re proud to contribute to the marine ecosystem research efforts of Mystic Aquarium scientists as they help guide the development of sustainable energy in a way that shows the highest levels of respect and care for marine mammals.”

The Aquarium’s research projects include monitoring marine mammal and sea turtle strandings, developing non-invasive health assessment techniques for marine mammals, tracking rehabilitated seals and sea turtles, and analyzing environmental DNA to identify which species are present near wind farms at any given time. Data collected will help inform a responsible buildout of sustainable energy sources to meet the region’s climate and clean energy targets while conserving marine ecosystems and wildlife.

Information featured in the exhibit stems from a multi-year research project funded in part by a $1.25 million grant Ørsted and Eversource awarded to the Aquarium in 2021. Funding is also provided by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Blue World Research Institute, and Boston University.

The expanded exhibit includes video interviews with key Aquarium leaders such as Dr. Tracy Romano, Vice President and Chief Scientist, Dr. Peter Auster, Senior Research Scientist, and other Aquarium Research and Animal Rescue team members as well as visual assets provided by Ørsted.

The Renewable Ocean Energy exhibit highlights a number of new and emerging technologies and applications, and introduces young people to a diverse array of exciting careers in related fields through digital and hands-on interactives. It is a component of the broader Ocean Solutions Gallery, which showcases Mystic Aquarium’s research, management, and policy work aimed at addressing climate change and the loss of marine biodiversity.

Offshore wind will contribute significantly to Connecticut’s clean energy goal of a zero-carbon emissions grid by 2040. Connecticut is a leader in offshore wind development, with State Pier in New London serving as a wind turbine assembly and shipping hub for East Coast offshore wind farms, including South Fork Wind, which last week became the first U.S. commercial-scale wind farm to complete construction.

Revolution Wind will begin offshore construction this year, with turbine marshaling to take place at New London State Pier. Upon completion, the project will deliver 304 megawatts of renewable energy to Connecticut and 400 megawatts to Rhode Island – enough to power 350,000 homes across both states.

About Mystic Aquarium
Mystic Aquarium, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is counted among the nation’s leading aquariums, offering exemplary care to a variety of species while also serving as the northeast’s premier marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation center. Robust conservation and education programming along with unparalleled visitor experiences serve to strengthen personal connections to the animals and their environments. The mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect the ocean planet through conservation, education, and research, and introduces approximately 800,000 guests annually to thousands of animals through structured interpretations, specially curated exhibits and hands-on interactions. As a leading research organization, Mystic Aquarium employs a full staff of scientists engaged in projects focused on the conservation and sustainability of our ocean planet. To learn more, follow Mystic Aquarium on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.