South Fork Wind gets go ahead from D.C.
South Fork Wind, an up to 12 turbine offshore wind farm to be located 19 miles southeast of Block Island, and 35 miles east of Montauk Point, got its “Record of Decision” from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on November 24. The decision includes an environmental review and essentially means that the project has been approved, except for review and acceptance of a construction and operations plan that is expected to be approved in January.
The 12-turbine facility is expected to meet the energy demands of about 70,000 homes on Long Island with 130 megawatts and to employ 340 people. It is a joint
project between Orsted, the owner of the Block Island Wind Farm and Eversource. Operations are expected to begin at the end of 2023.
Construction is expected to start soon with the installation of an export cable that will come ashore in East Hampton, Long Island. Fabrication of an offshore substation that will be 60 feet tall and weigh 1,500 tons is in progress, with the work being performed by Kiewit Offshore Services, Ltd. Near Corpus Christie, Texas.
Orsted has been conducting fisheries monitoring and geotechnical surveys offshore for both South Fork Wind and Sunrise Wind, another joint project with Eversource, for some time. Most recently, the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation of Rhode Island has been working with the fishing vessels Cailyn and Maren and More Misery conducting a pre-construction gillnet survey for skates, monkfish, and other species in the area of the South Fork Wind project.
While the project may be a first for New York, South Fork Wind is actually the second commercial-scale wind farm to gain approval and start construction. (The
Block Island Wind Farm, a demonstration project, is not considered “commercial.”) Vineyard Wind 1 received BOEM approval in July and just “broke ground” on November 18. Like South Fork, the first step in construction is the installation of the cables that will connect the offshore turbines with the mainland. For Vineyard Wind, the cables will come ashore at Covell’s Beach in Barnstable, Mass., on Cape Cod.
The Vineyard Wind project is larger than South Fork, with an expected generation of 800 megawatts of electricity annually from 62 turbines, enough to power 400,000 homes. It is owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables, LLC.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who attended the Vineyard Wind groundbreaking said: “The climate crisis demands our immediate action. That’s why the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is such an historic and monumental moment in this nation’s efforts to protect our lands and waters. It recognizes that, in order to keep our planet livable for future generations, we must get to a net-zero economy and make robust investments in sustainable economies, clean energy, and climate resistance.”