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US Opens First Large Offshore Wind Farm


Last week, the South Fork Wind project launched its clean energy production, making New York home to America’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and other elected officials announced the historic milestone with the completion of 12 offshore wind turbines and successful delivery of power to Long Island and the Rockaways.

“When I broke ground on the South Fork project, I made a promise to build a cleaner, greener future for all New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “I’m keeping to that promise and South Fork Wind is now delivering clean energy to tens of thousands of homes and businesses on Long Island.

“With more projects in the pipeline, this is just the beginning of New York’s offshore wind future and I look forward to continued partnership with the Biden Administration and local leaders to build a clean and resilient energy grid.”

Project Background

In September 2020, offshore wind joint development partners Ørsted and Eversource announced the commencement of the first-ever American-built offshore wind substation.

The substation was designed and constructed by offshore fabricator Kiewit Offshore Services, Ltd. Kiewit is reportedly the first American contractor to fabricate a wind farm’s offshore substation.

The 1,500-ton, 60-foot-tall substation will be built at Kiewit’s facility in Ingleside, Texas. In total, the substation will be capable of generating 132 megawatts and will consist of a topside resting on a mono-pile foundation.

Once in operation, the substation will collect the power produced by wind turbines and connect the clean energy to the grid.

Throughout the design and construction phases of the projects, Kiewit reported that it employed more than 350 fabrication workers from Ingleside, Houston and Kansas. In addition, the company planned to hire hundreds of union workers in the Northeast to support the project, as well as other initiatives in the region.

In November of 2021, the DOI announced that it approved the construction and operations of offshore wind joint development partners Ørsted and Eversource’s South Fork Wind project, the Department’s second approval of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project in the United States.

The ROD approved the 130-megawatt project’s plan to install 12 or fewer turbines about 19 miles southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island, and 35 miles east of Montauk Point, New York. The DOI reports that, prior to construction, South Fork Wind must also submit a facility design report and a fabrication and installation report for construction and operations.

Construction on the substation was slated to begin in 2022, with a competition date originally eyed for spring 2023. Then, crews intended to transport the substation across the Gulf of Mexico and up the East Coast for installation at the South Fork Wind site in the summer of 2023.

To install the duct bank system, South Fork Wind also tapped Long Island-based contractor Haugland Energy Group LLC (an affiliate of Haugland Group LLC). The contractor led the construction of the onshore interconnection facility in East Hampton, New York, and will reportedly create more than 1—union jobs for Long Island skilled trades workers.

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In January 2022, South Fork Wind received the final approval needed for the project to move forward with the start of construction. The project’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP) was approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, following the DOI’s Record of Decision in November and a BOEM environmental review.

The COP outlined the project’s one nautical mile turbine spacing, requirements on the construction methodology for the work occurring in federal waters and mitigation measures to protect marine habitats and species.

Construction began the following month with the installation of the onshore export cable systems to link the project to the Long Island electric grid. The wind farm reportedly reached its “steel in the water” milestone in June 2023 with the installation of the project’s first monopile foundation, and its final turbine was installed last month.

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Wind Farm in Operation

According to a release from Ørsted and Eversource, all 12 of South Fork Wind’s turbines are now installed, and the wind farm is delivering power to the local Long Island electric grid and commissioning is in its final stage.

At full capacity, the 130-megawatt wind farm is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power approximately 70,000 homes. It will also reportedly eliminate 6 million tons of carbon emissions over the life of the project, or the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road for the next 20 years.

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The Associated Press reports that South Fork will generate more than four times the power of a five-turbine pilot project developed earlier off the coast of Rhode Island.

Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper called the opening a major milestone that proves large offshore wind farms can be built, both in the United States and in other countries with little or no offshore wind energy currently.

New York said last month it would negotiate a contract with Ørsted and Eversource for an even larger wind farm, Sunrise Wind, to power 600,000 homes.

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Additionally, Norwegian company Equinor was picked for its Empire Wind 1 project to power more than 500,000 New York homes. Both aim to start providing power in 2026.


Tagged categories: Carbon footprint; Completed projects; Emissions; Energy efficiency; Environmental Controls; Good Technical Practice; Government; Net Zero Energy ; Power; Program/Project Management; Projects - Commercial; Wind Towers


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