Construction to Begin on New York’s First Offshore Wind Farm
New York State’s first offshore wind farm, South Fork Wind, which is also being called the U.S.'s second major wind project, is set to begin on-site construction. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) approved the project’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP) clearing the way for the project to commence work.
South Fork Wind will be located about 35 miles east of Montauk Point at the eastern tip of Long Island and South of Rhode Island. The design calls for a generation capacity of 130 MW with the site's transmission system delivering energy directly to the electric grid in the Town of East Hampton on Long Island. The project comes at a critical time, for according to the local power companies power needs on the South Fork area of Long Island are growing faster than anywhere else on Long Island.
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. The approval of the plan follows the BOEM’s November 2021 issuance of its Record of Decision, which concluded the thorough BOEM-led environmental review of the project. The COP is the last step in the licenses process.
“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.”
Ørsted and Eversource, joint partners for the project, reported that they are now entering the construction phase for South Fork Wind, with the first work beginning in the coming weeks. Site preparation and onshore activities for the project’s underground duct bank system and interconnection facility will be the first to begin. The onshore interconnection facility will be located in East Hampton, New York.
Last summer, the project awarded the contract for the construction of the offshore substation to Kiewit Offshore Services. Fabrication of the 1,500-ton, 60-foot-tall substation is already in process at Kiewit’s facility in Ingleside, Texas.
Offshore installation of the project’s monopile foundations and 11-megawatt Siemens-Gamesa wind turbines is expected to begin in summer 2023.
The beginning of construction for South Fork comes as New York State and the federal government seek to accelerate the development of offshore wind capabilities. Last week, New York announced that it had finalized contracts with Equinor and bp as the joint venture partners for the development of the state’s next major offshore wind projects. These next projects will have significantly greater capacity each expected to generate over 1,200 MW and begin commercial operations in 2027 and 2028.
At the end of February, the BOEM will be conducting the bidding for six lease areas located outside New York harbor and to the south along the New Jersey coast. The auction, which is the first under the Biden Administration, will be the most leases offered in a single auction. The offer documents highlight an area of more than 480,000 acres. They estimate that this sale could result in 5.6 to 7 gigawatts of offshore wind energy.