Large Offshore Wind Farm Approved for Construction by U.S. BOEM

offshore wind farm
Sunrise Wind becomes the ninth commercial-scale offshore wind farm approved in the United States (Orsted)

Published Jun 21, 2024 3:43 PM by The Maritime Executive

The pace of approvals continues after years of review with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today approving the ninth commercial-scale offshore wind farm. The project known as Sunrise Wind is currently jointly owned by Ørsted and Eversource Energy, although Eversource has agreed to sell its shares as part of a strategy for existing offshore wind investments.

"BOEM’s approval of the Sunrise Wind project represents another step in building a thriving offshore wind energy industry,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. The bureau issued its approval for the Construction and Operation Plan today after the Department of the Interior in March 2024 published its Record of Decision on the project.

These are the final steps for federal approval for the wind farm which will have a capacity of 924 MW. Sunrise Wind also recently finalized its agreements with NYSERDA on the project’s 25-year Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificates (OREC) contract. The COP which was approved today outlines the project’s one nautical mile turbine spacing, the requirements on the construction methodology for all work occurring in federal ocean waters, and mitigation measures to protect marine habitats and species.

"Sunrise Wind is a centerpiece of New York’s clean energy vision, and with this final federal approval we can officially put the construction phase in motion," said David Hardy, Group EVP and CEO Americas at Ørsted. "BOEM’s approval is an important milestone not just for New York but also for America’s domestic energy sector.”

The companies report that the Sunrise Wind team will now accelerate work on the onshore transmission system, with offshore construction ramping up later this year at the project site approximately 30 miles east of Montauk, New York. The project is expected to be in operation in 2026. 

Eversource as part of its sale agreement concluded in April 2024 with Ørsted will remain contracted, under a separate construction management agreement, to lead the onshore construction of the Sunrise Wind project. In this role, Eversource will be a service provider to Ørsted and will not have any ongoing ownership interest in the project, nor any ongoing financial obligations associated with project costs.

The plan for the Sunrise Wind project calls for up to 84 wind turbine generators. The original lease was granted in 2013 for a site located south of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and east of Block Island, Rhode Island. It is the first offshore wind project in America to use high-voltage direct current transmission technology.

Among the elements of the project will be an operation and maintenance hub in East Setauket on Long Island, New York. They will also be developing a harbor facility in Port Jefferson to support the operations and maintenance of the wind farm.

The companies report that they have already awarded $200 million in contracts to Haugland Energy Group for the installation of the underground duct bank system for Sunrise Wind’s onshore transmission line in Brookhaven, in Suffolk County, New York. Other contracts include $86 million with Riggs?Distler?& Company for the steel manufacturing of foundation components for wind turbines.

With this approval, BOEM and the Department of the Interior highlight that they have completed more than 10 GW of offshore energy. That is a third of the Biden administration’s goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.