10-year, $5 million partnership to advance research, opportunities for students

Offshore wind turbine blades
Wind energy is just one of the forms of clean energy that UMass Lowell and Avengrid will research together through a new partnership.


Media contacts: Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or Christine_Gillette@uml.edu and Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu

LOWELL, Mass. – A new research partnership between Avangrid (NYSE:AGR), its subsidiary Central Maine Power and UMass Lowell will expand the use of clean-energy technology, benefiting consumers, students and the environment. 

The collaboration, announced today, will bring together researchers from the company and the university to advance the development and implementation of clean energy technologies over the next decade. This includes hydropower, wind energy, power grids, energy storage and data sciences, as well as other technology innovations.

UMass Lowell students – from those seeking bachelor’s degrees all the way to doctoral candidates – will also benefit from the partnership, which calls for them to participate in on-campus research and for CMP to explore opportunities for co-ops, internships and fellowships. The partners will also present joint conferences and workshops for researchers from across the clean-energy field. 

“Through this new partnership, UMass Lowell’s world-class faculty will be able to lend their expertise to an important effort to expand clean energy in the Commonwealth and beyond. This project will also create new opportunities for UMass Lowell students at all levels to gain valuable experience to complement what they learn in the classroom,” said Julie Chen, UMass Lowell vice chancellor for research and innovation.

“Our companies are deeply invested in finding and delivering solutions to environmental challenges linked to the way we generate and distribute energy,” said Bob Kump, president and CEO of Avangrid Networks, CMP’s parent company. “Our collaboration with UMass Lowell is one more way we can accelerate innovation and the development of technology to expand the range of solutions to today’s environmental challenges.”

CMP has proposed to construct and operate the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), a transmission project in Maine that is poised to deliver abundant supplies of clean, large-scale hydropower energy from eastern Canada into the New England region while saving Massachusetts consumers more than $2 billion in costs over the 20-year contract for energy.

CMP and the university will explore a number of funding and collaboration opportunities. These include, should the NECEC project move forward, annual grants to the university of at least $200,000 per year to support the initiatives pursued by the research partnership and an additional $300,000 to match research funding from the state or federal government, industry, nonprofits or private donors. 

CMP serves more than 600,000 customers in central and southern Maine. The research partnership with UMass Lowell is the first for the company in Massachusetts and could be expanded to other campuses in the UMass system.

“We look forward to expanding our relationships with new partners in New England,” said Doug Herling, president and CEO of Central Maine Power, a subsidiary of Avangrid. “Our companies in Maine and across the U.S. depend on colleges and universities to help shape the workforce and the technology we need for our industry.”

“We are excited to collaborate with CMP to develop new and emerging technologies that will help drive down the cost of energy while making it cleaner and more accessible than ever before,” said Prof. Christopher Niezrecki, chairman of UMass Lowell’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and director of the National Science Foundation Industry-University Cooperative Research Center on Wind Energy

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 18,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu