Turbine Construction Approved for First Large US Offshore Wind Farm 

first US offshore wind turbine construction approved
Reviews were completed permitting South Fork to start turbine construction as the first large U.S. offshore wind farm (South Fork rendering)

Published Apr 5, 2023 6:13 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Department of the Interior has completed the necessary reviews clearing the way for the start of turbine construction offshore between Rhode Island and New York for South Fork Wind. This will be the first commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project to start turbine construction in federal waters in the United States.

The development is being called a major milestone towards meeting the U.S.’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. It is also the first since the DOI in January moved to streamline processes by shifting responsibilities, including workplace safety and environmental compliance, from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

“The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has the important responsibility of reviewing renewable energy projects and is committed to ensuring they will be built and operated in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner,” said Kevin Sligh, Director of BSEE. “Today’s announcement is a significant milestone for the Biden-Harris administration and the Department’s progress in offshore wind development on the Outer Continental Shelf.”

BSEE declared on April 3 that it has completed its review of critical design and installation reports for the South Fork Wind project. With the completion of the 60-day review of the project’s Facility Design Report and Fabrication and Installation Report, South Fork Wind will now begin the historic step of constructing and installing offshore wind turbines on the Outer Continental Shelf. It is estimated that the installation of its 12 turbines by summer 2023. The project is being jointly developed as a first effort in the U.S. in a 50/50 partnership between Ørsted and Eversource.

The South Fork project was approved by the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in November 2021. The project will be located 35 miles east of Montauk Point on Long Island, New York, and will have an underground transmission line that will deliver power to the local grid in the Town of East Hampton, New York. It will have the capacity to generate 130 megawatts of wind energy, enough to power over 70,000 homes and businesses.

Ørsted and Eversource point to the project as their pioneering effort highlighting the broad network being developed to support the construction and operation. They will be working with Boskalis for the foundation and offshore substations transportation and installation work for the joint venture’s South Fork Wind. Under a contract finalized in late 2021, Boskalis will manage the transport and installation of three offshore substations and the XXL monopiles for the South Fork Wind and Revolution Wind projects. Boskalis will also install scour protection for the Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind projects.

The companies have also entered into agreements to charter five new offshore wind CTVs to be built at Senesco Marine and Blount Boats & Shipyard, both located in Rhode Island, to service the wind farms. In addition, they agreed to charter a newly built SOV which is under construction at Edison Chouest Offshore’s yard in Louisiana and due to enter service in 2024 also to support maintenance operations at these wind farms.