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Photo shows the installation of the first offshore wind turbine at South Fork Wind

The first offshore wind turbine is installed at the South Fork Wind project offshore New York. Photo courtesy New York State

First Commercial-Scale Offshore Wind Farm in US Powers Up

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1759
December 6, 2023

New York State has reached a significant milestone in its clean energy efforts with the successful delivery of power from the first operational wind turbine at the South Fork Wind project. Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that the turbine is now providing clean electricity to Long Island, marking a major milestone in the state’s renewable energy development.

The South Fork Wind project, located approximately 35 miles off Montauk, has already installed two turbines, with one currently operational. The remaining 10 turbines are expected to be installed by early 2024. This progress aligns with New York’s ambitious goal to install nine gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2035.

“New York’s nation-leading efforts to generate reliable, renewable clean energy have reached a major milestone,” said Governor Hochul. “South Fork Wind will power thousands of homes, create good-paying union jobs and demonstrate to all that offshore wind is a viable resource New York can harness for generations to come.”

The milestone comes just two weeks after the installation of New York’s first offshore wind turbine at South Fork Wind. Joint-venture partners Ørsted and Eversource, along with state, county, and local officials, advocates, and community members, gathered to commemorate the occasion in East Hampton, Long Island.

Once fully operational, South Fork Wind will generate approximately 130 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power around 70,000 homes on Long Island. The clean energy produced by the wind farm will also reduce carbon emissions by up to six million tons annually, equivalent to removing 60,000 cars from the road.

South Fork Wind joins Ørsted’s 30-MW Block Island wind project, the first-ever offshore wind farm in the U.S., and Dominion Energy’s two-turbine Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project as the only operational offshore wind farms in the U.S.

“East Hampton has now made history as the first community in New York to receive clean energy from an offshore wind farm,” said David Hardy, Executive Vice President and CEO Americas of Ørsted Group. “South Fork Wind is not just a trailblazing project for the state; it’s also one of the foundations of America’s offshore wind energy industry and a testament to our team’s commitment, expertise, and hard work. Thanks to the leadership of the Biden and Hochul administrations, as well as our state and local partners and supporters, South Fork Wind is powering up and setting the stage for a growing American industry.”

Joe Nolan, Chairman, President, and CEO of Eversource Energy, emphasized the local impact of the project. “South Fork Wind is a project by New Yorkers, for New Yorkers. Clean, renewable offshore wind energy is now flowing to the local grid in East Hampton, thanks especially to the hard work of local union workers and contractors who helped us build South Fork Wind’s transmission system and onshore substation. This has been a year of firsts for New York’s offshore wind industry, and there’s a lot more to come in the weeks ahead for this groundbreaking project and the growth of the U.S. offshore wind sector,” said Nolan.

Approved by the Long Island Power Authority Board of Trustees in 2017, South Fork Wind began construction in February 2022, starting with the onshore export cable system that connects the project to the LIPA energy grid. The wind farm achieved its “steel in the water” milestone this past June with the installation of the first monopile foundation. The turbines are being installed by Van Oord’s offshore installation vessel, the Aeolus.

Notably, South Fork Wind features the first U.S.-built offshore wind substation. More than 350 U.S. workers across three states contributed to the construction of this offshore substation, which collects the power generated by wind turbines and connects it to the grid. The installation offshore was supported by New York union workers.

Haugland Energy Group LLC, a Long Island-based contractor affiliated with Haugland Group LLC, played a key role in the project by installing the underground duct bank system for South Fork Wind’s onshore transmission line and leading the construction of the onshore interconnection facility. LS Cable, with support from Elecnor Hawkeye, completed the installation and jointing of the onshore cables. Roman Stone, also based on Long Island, manufactured concrete mattresses to protect the undersea cables, while Ljungstrom, in partnership with Riggs Distler & Company, Inc., provided specialized structural steelwork from their facility in western New York.

Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, highlighted the significance of the occassion.

“This moment represents years of hard work, vision, and the courage to lead in our energy transition. Long Island residents are now experiencing first-hand the benefits of their homes and businesses being powered with clean, renewable electricity from South Fork Wind. We congratulate the teams at Ørsted, Eversource, LIPA, the local leaders, and the workers who built this incredible project on celebrating first power today,” said Harris.

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