Photo courtesy Orsted

New York’s First Offshore Wind Project Approved for Construction

Mike Schuler
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January 20, 2022

New York State’s first offshore wind farm will move to the construction phase after receiving approval from federal regulators.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Thursday approved the Construction and Operations Plan (COP) 132 megawatt (MW) South Fork Wind project, the first offshore wind project to be located in federal waters off New York.

“Today, after years of careful planning, we are on the cusp of making history as South Fork Wind, New York’s first-ever offshore wind farm, will soon become a reality,” said Joe Nolan, Chief Executive Officer and President of Eversource Energy, which is developing the project alongside for Ørsted. “With onshore construction expected in the coming days, New Yorkers are closer than ever to realizing the benefits of clean energy as we continue to deliver on our promise of creating jobs, providing economic investment, and fighting climate change.”

The COP approval outlines South Fork Wind’s one nautical mile turbine spacing, as well as requirements on the method of construction and mitigation measures to protect marine habitats and species.

BOEM’s final approval of the COP follows the agency’s November 2021 issuance of its Record of Decision, becoming only the second commercial-scale offshore wind project to be granted the approval.

South Fork Wind’s 12 turbines will be located out of sight about 35 miles east of Montauk Point and produce enough clean energy to power 70,000 homes.

With the COP approved, Ørsted and Eversource will be able to move to the construction phase, starting with onshore activities. Fabrication of the project’s offshore substation is already underway by Kiewit Offshore Services. The 1,500-ton, 60-foot-tall substation will be built at Kiewit’s facility in Ingleside, Texas, near Corpus Christi, in support of more than 350 jobs.

Offshore installation of the project’s monopile foundations and 11-megawatt Siemens-Gamesa wind turbines is expected to begin in summer 2023, with operations to begin in later in the year.

The approval comes after New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced earlier this month a “nation-leading” $500 million investment to help secure the state’s position as an offshore wind industry hub.

“This milestone underscores the tremendous opportunity we have to create a new industry from the ground up to drive our green energy economy, deliver clean power to millions of homes and create good jobs across the state,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. “As we tackle climate change head on and transition to a clean economy, these are the projects that will power our future.”

“We’re excited to reach this critical point and receive BOEM’s final approval of our Construction and Operations Plan,” said David Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Ørsted Offshore North America. “As New York’s first offshore wind farm, South Fork Wind is already contributing to a new statewide and U.S. manufacturing era and maritime industry, including good-paying union jobs through our labor partnerships and vision for the industry. I want to thank Secretary Haaland, Governor Hochul, BOEM Director Lefton, NYSERDA CEO Harris, the NY State Legislature, the Long Island Power Authority, East Hampton’s elected leaders and other partners who are championing offshore wind energy.”

Also happening this month, BOEM announced plans to hold a “historic” offshore wind lease sale, the first of the Biden Administration, which will auction off a record of more than 480,000 acres of seabed off the coasts of New York and New Jersey available for offshore wind development. Last week, Equinor and BP also finalized the Purchase and Sale Agreements (PSAs) with New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for their Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind 1 offshore wind projects, two of the largest projects being developed in the United States.

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