The US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today gave final permitting approval to South Fork – New York’s first offshore wind farm. It’s now the second US offshore wind project authorized by the US government to begin construction.
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Second US offshore wind farm OK’ed for construction
South Fork’s construction and operations plan outlines the project’s 1 nautical mile turbine spacing, requirements on the construction methodology for all work occurring in federal ocean waters, and mitigation measures to protect marine habitats and species.
The 132 megawatt, 12-turbine South Fork offshore wind farm, which is being built by Danish renewables giant Ørsted and New England energy company Eversource (a 50/50 partnership), will power around 70,000 New York homes when it comes online at the end of 2023.
It will be located about 35 miles east of Montauk Point and will deliver clean energy directly to the electric grid in East Hampton via a single, 138kV alternating current (AC) transmission line.
Ørsted and Eversource will pay for 100% of the cost of building, operating, and maintaining South Fork. The energy produced will be sold to the Long Island Power Authority under the terms of a 20-year agreement.
Kiewit Offshore Services is currently building the project’s 1,500 ton, 60-foot-tall offshore substation at its facility in Ingleside, Texas, near Corpus Christi. More than 350 workers across three states will support the structure, and it will be the first US-made offshore wind energy substation.
Ross Gould, vice president of supply chain development at the Business Network for Offshore Wind, said in an emailed statement:
Today’s federal approval of South Fork – the second US offshore wind project – further solidifies the US as a major market and will boost needed supply chain investments.
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 US.
Ørsted, which has US offices in Boston and Providence, has secured over 4,000 megawatts of additional capacity through six projects in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
South Fork isn’t a huge project by any means, but it’s another leap forward for the fledgling US offshore wind industry.
What stood out when this news was announced today was that the US is only now manufacturing its very first offshore wind energy substation.
That fact spotlights just how far behind the US is when compared to offshore wind in Europe and Asia. But, the US has a lot of offshore wind projects in the pipeline, and we should see exciting developments in the next five years, provided that the government continues to greenlight projects like this one.
Photo: South Fork
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