CIC’s Offshore Wind Cluster Propels Venterra and Industry Peers Forward

Wind turbines in the ocean

Researchers and innovators across the world are continually looking for alternative energy sources to provide the electricity that powers all facets of our lives. In the clean energy race, wind farms are a top renewable energy source and a more environmentally friendly power alternative. 

Though it’s been more than three decades since the first offshore wind farm was established in Denmark, Rhode Island became the first state in the United States to develop an offshore wind farm in 2016. This first foray into offshore wind showed that investing in the creation of this industry from scratch could position the U.S. as a global industry leader.

In the last decade, the U.S. has reached a potential generating capacity of more than 50,000 megawatts – pipeline capacity that marked 15% growth between 2022 and 2023. The Ocean State is positioned well to maintain its status as an offshore wind leader in research and development that drives innovation.

At the heart of the growing offshore wind industry hub? CIC’s Innovation Campus in Providence. 

Our innovation campus houses more than 30 offshore wind companies working hard to increase renewable energy capacity, including Boskalis Offshore Management, Boston Energy, Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives and Crowley Maritime.

Venterra Group, a global offshore wind services company headquartered in London, chose CIC Providence as the home for one of its U.S. offices because it would be among this community. Drew Carey, Venterra’s vice president of Americas, specifically called out the innovation campus’s offshore wind expertise as a determining factor. “Through curation of the tenants here, and the types of meetings and events held here, there has been a knock-on effect of drawing more and more companies in the sector.” 

For companies at the forefront of innovation in nascent and established industries, establishing where and how their teams work is vital for long-term success.

Strategically Made Workspace Decisions Set Businesses Up for Success

Workspace decisions, regardless of industry, are an important determining factor in the success of a company. CIC commissioned a report  – prepared by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBRAS) – that examines how decisions about physical workspace contribute to company culture, innovation and growth. Respondents overwhelmingly agreed that workspace decisions impact culture and the quality of culture impacts the ability of a company to succeed. 

In light of this, it is no surprise that nearly 90% of HBRAS survey respondents agreed that organizations should prioritize workspace decisions. Venterra is an example of a forward-looking company that strategically considered its workspace needs to align with its business strategy.

The stakes are high for companies like Venterra and its offshore wind peers which are at the heart of solving big global issues like the need for clean energy. These solutions are, and will be, borne out of innovative thinking and discovery. The right working conditions can facilitate greater innovation, within one organization or across an entire industry. 

Today, our ability to connect around the world through technology seemingly takes geography out of the equation. Yet, recent research in Nature indicates that in-person collaboration yields more disruptive ideas than remote collaboration.

In innovative industries, the workspace must balance the realities of our hybrid work world and offer opportunities for in-person work that helps fuel an industry’s collective path forward. Flexible workspaces, like those offered at CIC innovation campuses, are the perfect blend of these factors – setting businesses like Venterra up for success.

Why Venterra Chose CIC Providence: Industry Cluster Balances Access to Talent and Ideas

Because of its global presence and industry, the location of Venterra’s offices is key. Providence is an ideal location for companies working in the BlueTech (ocean and water technology) because of access to two airports, proximity to world-class higher education institutions, statewide investment in workforce development, and support from state agencies and leaders. The Providence-Warwick region was designated an Ocean Tech Hub among the inaugural list of U.S. Tech hubs in 2023, led by the state’s economic development agency Rhode Island Commerce.

“Besides being drawn to the business community, Venterra came to the shared workspace facility because of the convenience of the transport options nearby, and the fact that the provider has facilities in other cities, too,” Carey said of Venterra’s choice to set up shop in CIC Providence.  

CIC manages more than 1.2M square feet of flexible workspace and labs across North America, Europe and Asia – making it easy for the 10,000+ organizations that call CIC home to extend their access and presence far beyond the immediate geographic area of their offices. Members have access to all CIC locations, at no extra cost. 

When Carey needed to hold a client meeting in another city, he easily booked shared space in another CIC location. “I knew how the system worked as it’s the same one used here. My access card that I use here worked there, too.”

The flexibility offered by CIC’s workspaces is just as important as location. Carey describes shared flexible workspace as an easy landing spot, “Companies may come here when they can only afford one desk or temporary space, and then they get involved, network, and grow. And the industry is better for it, too.”

How Venterra and Offshore Wind Peers Are Growing Through Collaboration

CIC’s offshore wind cluster creates a connected community of like-minded organizations. Idea sharing, conversation and networking occur frequently. This activity propels the world toward a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. 

Carey is proud to be a fixture in the offshore wind community, creating space and opportunity for networking at CIC. “I’ve turned my office into a place where I hold regular industry roundtables. I invite people here and facilitate discussions. I’ve positioned it as a collaborative space where that kind of thing can happen,” he shared.

Proximity to other companies within the Innovation Campus makes collaboration as easy as walking down a hallway. Carey describes the benefits of joining a cluster in one centralized location best – “If they were across the city, any conversation would depend on introductions, emails and phone calls. Here, conversations are a part of being in a community.”

Convening members to facilitate connection is a key fixture of CIC Providence. Through its own programming and events like the Venture Café Thursday Gathering series to hosting industry networking events like Offshore Wind Drinks, CIC fosters an intentional innovation ecosystem aimed at creating community, starting conversations, and generating big ideas. 

Because the value of the offshore wind energy market is forecasted to reach $89.76 billion by 2030, it may seem like stiff competition would stifle connection and collaboration. But companies like Venterra, an organization of nine companies, understand that collective effort is necessary. 

“While there’s certainly competition, if we don’t all find a way to collaborate, we’re just going to make it much, much harder to achieve industry goals,” Carey explained. CIC is committed to playing a part in solving our global need for sustainable energy by supporting the hard work of these offshore wind companies. Its Innovation Campus hosts nearly every aspect of the offshore wind supply chain, save for manufacturing vessels and large components.

Is a CIC innovation cluster right for your company?

The numerous valuable benefits Venterra has realized through CIC Providence are the rule, not the exception.

The offshore wind industry cluster is just one example of the value of pairing industry clusters with flexible workspace to create a connected culture needed to fix global problems through innovation. CIC is proud of the SeaAhead, AI Hub and MA Mobility Hub industry clusters that call our innovation campuses home. 

If you are an innovator with a big idea to solve a global problem, CIC may be the home you’re looking for to empower your work.  

Looking for a workspace that helps your business grow while facilitating industry connection? Reach out to us to chat about how CIC can help.

From CIC Client Spotlight General Providence