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South Fork offshore wind project is cleared for construction

A rendering of the South Fork Wind substation, which will be built by Kiewit Offshore Services. South Fork Wind is the second commercial-scale offshore wind project to receive federal approval in the U.S. (Courtesy: Ørsted)

South Fork Wind received approval of the project’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP) from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  

The COP approval outlines the 132 MW project’s 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 follows the agency’s November 2021 issuance of its Record of Decision, which concluded the project’s environmental review. Ørsted and Eversource are developing the project, which is expected to enter service at the end of 2023. It will include 11 MW Siemens-Gamesa turbines. Construction is expected to start this summer.

South Fork Wind is New York’s first offshore wind farm and the second project to receive federal permits. The Long Island Power Authority signed power purchase agreements with the project five years ago.

News on South Fork Wind continued an already busy January for offshore wind in the U.S.

The federal government said it would lease an area larger than half the size of Rhode Island off New Jersey’s and New York’s coasts for wind power development, the first offshore lease in the Biden Administration, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced January 12.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management auction of nearly 500,000 acres (202,300 hectares) is planned for February. It covers parcels off the so-called New York Bight and could lead to enough energy production to power up to 2 million homes, according to the Interior Department.

The announcement came as President Joe Biden’s administration aims to reach 30 GW of offshore wind production by 2030, with more than half of it expected to come from New Jersey and New York by 2035. Projects developed as part of the lease announcement account for up to 7 GW, the department said.

Earlier in January, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a $500 million offshore wind investment to include manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure. The state plans to develop 4,300 MW of offshore wind energy, representing nearly half of New York’s 9,000 MW goal for 2035. Coupled with the $500 million, the state will launch its next offshore wind procurement in 2022, which is expected to result in at least 2 GW of new projects.

With the BOEM approvals for South Fork Wind, Ørsted and Eversource enter the project’s construction phase. 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 under way. Ørsted and Eversource recently announced the selection of Kiewit Offshore Services, Ltd. to design and build the substation. The 1,500-ton, 60-foot-tall substation will be built at Kiewit’s facility in Ingleside, Texas, near Corpus Christi.

Long Island-based contractor Haugland Energy Group LLC (a unit of Haugland Group LLC) was 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.

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

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