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U.S. Approves South Fork as Second Major Offshore Wind Farm

second large US offshore wind farm approved
(Orsted)

Published Nov 25, 2021 5:31 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S.’s second major offshore wind project received approval for construction and operation from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). South Fork Wind, which will be located off the east end of Long Island and south of Rhode Island achieved the critical milestone in the federal environmental review on November 24, just a week after construction began on the U.S.’s first large offshore wind farm.

“We have no time to waste in cultivating and investing in a clean energy economy that can sustain us for generations,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “Just one year ago, there were no large-scale offshore wind projects approved in the federal waters of the United States. Today there are two, with several more on the horizon,” as part of the government’s plan for 30 GW of offshore energy by 2030.

The Record of Decision documents grants to South Fork Wind, by BOEM and the National Marine Fisheries Service within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, approve the plan to install 12 or fewer turbines located approximately 19 miles southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island, and 35 miles east of Montauk Point, New York. The ROD adopts a range of measures to help avoid, minimize, and mitigate potential impacts that could result from the construction and operation of the proposed project.

South Fork Wind remains on track to be fully permitted by early 2022 according to joint venture partners Ørsted and Eversource. Prior to construction, South Fork Wind must submit a facility design report and a fabrication and installation report to BOEM. These engineering and technical reports provide specific details for how the facility will be fabricated and installed in accordance with South Fork’s approved plan for construction and operations.

“With the achievement of this critical federal permitting milestone, construction of this historic wind farm is expected to begin in the weeks and months ahead,” said David Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Ørsted Offshore North America

The South Fork Wind team is now gearing up for site preparation work and the start of construction, beginning as early as January 2022, on the project’s underground transmission line. Fabrication of the project’s offshore substation is already in process. Offshore installation of the project’s monopile foundations and 11-megawatt Siemens-Gamesa wind turbines is expected to begin in summer 2023. 

The 132 MW offshore wind farm will serve Long Island when it begins operations at the end of 2023. Its transmission system will deliver energy to the electric grid in the Town of East Hampton providing power for approximately 70,000 homes.