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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Construction of New York’s First Offshore Wind Farm Set to Start as Final Approval Granted

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

January 20, 2022

Credit: Orsted

Credit: Orsted

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has granted Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for the South Fork Wind, New York’s first offshore wind farm, Ørsted confirmed Thursday. This is the final decision needed from the agency to move the project toward the start of construction.  

The approximately 130 MW South Fork Wind project, owned by the Danish firm Orsted AS and U.S. company Eversource Energy, will be located about 19 miles (30.58 km) southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island, and 35 miles (56.33 km) east of Montauk Point, New York.

The COP approval outlines the project’s one nautical mile turbine spacing, the requirements on the construction methodology for all work occurring in federal ocean waters, and mitigation measures to protect marine habitats and species. 

BOEM’s final approval of the COP follows the agency’s November 2021 issuance of its Record of Decision, which concluded the thorough BOEM-led environmental review of the project.  

"The project will kickstart New York’s offshore wind industry and power approximately 70,000 New York homes with clean, offshore wind energy when it begins operations at the end of 2023," Ørsted said.

"This milestone underscores the tremendous opportunity we have to create a new industry from the ground up to drive our green energy economy, deliver clean power to millions of homes and create good jobs across the state,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. “As we tackle climate change head on and transition to a clean economy, these are the projects that will power our future.”

“We're excited to reach this critical point and receive BOEM’s final approval of our Construction and Operations Plan,” said David Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Ørsted Offshore North America. “As New York’s first offshore wind farm, South Fork Wind is already contributing to a new statewide and U.S. manufacturing era and maritime industry, including good-paying union jobs through our labor partnerships and vision for the industry. I want to thank Secretary Haaland, Governor Hochul, BOEM Director Lefton, NYSERDA CEO Harris, the NY State Legislature, the Long Island Power Authority, East Hampton’s elected leaders and other partners who are championing offshore wind energy.”

"Today, after years of careful planning, we are on the cusp of making history as South Fork Wind, New York’s first-ever offshore wind farm, will soon become a reality,” said Joe Nolan, Chief Executive Officer and President of Eversource Energy. “With onshore construction expected in the coming days, New Yorkers are closer than ever to realizing the benefits of clean energy as we continue to deliver on our promise of creating jobs, providing economic investment, and fighting climate change.”

Construction phase

Ørsted and Eversource are now entering the construction phase for South Fork Wind, which will be built under industry-leading project labor agreements and specific partnerships with local union organizations, ensuring local union labor’s participation in all phases of construction on the project, Ørsted said.

Site preparation and onshore activities for the project’s underground duct bank system and interconnection facility will be the first to begin, and will source construction labor from local union hiring halls.

Fabrication of the project’s offshore substation is already in process. Ørsted and Eversource recently announced the selection of Kiewit Offshore Services, Ltd. (Kiewit), the largest offshore fabricator in the U.S., to design and build the substation for the project. The 1,500-ton, 60-foot-tall substation will be built at Kiewit’s facility in Ingleside, Texas, near Corpus Christi. More than 350 workers across three states will support this South Fork Wind structure, which will be the first made in the USA offshore wind energy substation.

Long Island-based contractor Haugland Energy Group LLC (an affiliate of Haugland Group LLC) was recently selected to install the duct bank system for the project’s underground onshore transmission line and lead the construction of the onshore interconnection facility located in East Hampton, New York. This new agreement will create more than 100 union jobs for Long Island skilled trades workers, including heavy equipment operators, electricians, lineworkers, and local delivery drivers who will support transportation of materials to the project site.

Offshore installation of the project’s monopile foundations and 11-megawatt Siemens-Gamesa wind turbines is expected to begin in summer 2023.

South Fork Wind will be located about 35 miles east of Montauk Point. Its transmission system will deliver electricity directly to the electric grid in the Town of East Hampton.

"Power needs on the South Fork are growing faster than anywhere else on Long Island. In 2015, LIPA and PSEG Long Island issued a request for proposals to address this specific need and selected South Fork Wind because it was part of a portfolio that offers the most cost-effective solution to meet this demand and meet LIPA’s clean energy goals," Ørsted said.

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