US Issues First Turbine Installation Clearance for Commercial-Scale Offshore Wind Farm
The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has completed its review of critical design and installation reports for the South Fork Wind project, clearing the way for the start of turbine construction offshore Rhode Island and New York.
This will be the first commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project to start turbine construction in federal waters in the United States, the US Department of Interior (DOI) said.
”Two years ago, President Biden issued a bold challenge to move America towards a clean energy future. The Interior Department answered that call and is moving rapidly to create a robust and sustainable clean energy economy with good-paying union jobs,” said Secretary Deb Haaland.
”As we celebrate the advancement of the South Fork Wind project, we look forward to continued progress that will help communities across America be part of the climate solution.”
With BSEE’s completion of the 60-day review of the project’s Facility Design Report and Fabrication and Installation Report, South Fork Wind will now begin constructing and installing offshore wind turbines on the Outer Continental Shelf, with an estimated completion date of summer 2023.
”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,” said BSEE Director Kevin Sligh.
”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.”
In January 2023, the Department announced the transfer of regulations governing offshore renewable energy activities — including workplace safety and environmental compliance — from BOEM to BSEE.
The South Fork project, which was approved by Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in November 2021, will directly support approximately 165 jobs over the two-year construction period and approximately 10 long-term jobs during the operations and maintenance period. The project will also support hundreds of jobs in the supply chain and service industries, producing economic benefits from the clean energy transition for onshore communities.
Ørsted and Eversource, the owners and developers of South Fork Wind, reached the final investment decision (FID) for the project at the beginning of 2022.
Offshore construction is well under way at the site, with the export cable now installed.
The 132 MW wind farm will comprise twelve 11 MW Siemens Gamesa turbines, which will be connected to each other and the offshore substation via inter-array cables delivered by the Greek subsea cable supplier Hellenic Cables.
The installation of the wind farm’s monopile foundations and wind turbines is expected to begin this summer.
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