New York’s First Offshore Wind Farm Gets Final Federal Go-Ahead to Start Building

South Fork Wind, New York’s first offshore wind farm, has received the final decision from the federal level needed to move the project toward the start of construction as the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has now given its final approval of the project’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP).

The COP approval outlines the offshore wind farm’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 issuance of the Record of Decision in November 2021, which concluded the environmental review of the project.

Construction works are set to begin by the end of this month with site preparation and onshore activities for the export cable system both onshore and in the New York State waters, as well as for the associated interconnection facility in the Town of East Hampton in Suffolk County, Long Island.

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Onshore works will be carried out by the Long Island-based contractor Haugland Energy Group, which will install the underground duct bank system for the onshore transmission line and lead the construction of the project’s onshore interconnection facility in East Hampton.

Meanwhile, fabrication of the project’s offshore substation is already in process, South Fork Wind developers Ørsted and Eversource said.

The offshore substation will be built by Texas-based Kiewit Offshore Services at its facility in Ingleside, near Corpus Christi. The substation will be the first offshore wind energy substation made in the US.

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The 132 MW wind farm will also comprise locally manufactured export cables to be supplied by Nexans from their South Carolina factory and the first-ever US-flagged, Jones Act-compliant service operations vessel (SOV) – engineered, constructed, and operated by Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) as an integral part of the operation and maintenance of Ørsted and Eversource’s Revolution Wind, South Fork Wind, and Sunrise Wind offshore wind farms in the northeast US.

“Today’s federal approval of South Fork – the second U.S. offshore wind project—further solidifies the U.S. as a major market and will boost needed supply chain investments”, said Ross Gould, vice president of Supply Chain Development at the Business Network for Offshore Wind.

“While local labor will be instrumental in construction and operations, the South Fork project shows how a singular offshore wind project creates hundreds of well-paying jobs across the nation as manufacturing and logistics supply chains stretch deep into the U.S. This localization of a supply chain is critical and must be better supported by policymakers to ensure projects move forward consistently and economic benefits are captured domestically”.

The South Fork wind farm will comprise twelve 11 MW Siemens Gamesa turbines installed at the project site some 30 kilometres (19 miles) southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island, and some 56 kilometres (35 miles) east of Montauk Point, New York.

Offshore installation of the project’s monopile foundations and wind turbines is expected to begin next Summer and the wind farm is scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2023.

According to Ørsted and Eversource., the 132 MW 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 next year.

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Photo: Illustration; Borssele 1 & 2 offshore wind farm; Photo: Ørsted