The Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for South Fork Wind, New York’s first offshore wind farm, has received approval from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). This is the final decision needed from the agency to move the project, which is a joint venture between Ørsted and Eversource, toward the start of construction.
This is the second U.S. offshore wind project authorized to begin construction. Today’s construction approval follows Vineyard Wind’s approval in late 2021 and continues the moment of offshore wind power adoption in the U.S.
The COP approval 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. BOEM’s final approval of the COP follows the agency’s November 2021 issuance of its Record of Decision, which concluded the thorough BOEM-led environmental review of the project. Ørsted and Eversource say that they “reached these provisions and protections working closely with a range of external organizations and experts, a commitment the companies carry to all stakeholder relationships to help ensure coexistence.”
Ørsted and Eversource are now entering the construction phase for South Fork Wind, which, they say, will be built under industry-leading project labor agreements and specific partnerships with local union organizations, ensuring local union labor’s participation in all phases of construction on the project. Site preparation and onshore activities for the project’s underground duct bank system and interconnection facility will be the first to begin, and will source construction labor from local union hiring halls.
Fabrication of the project’s offshore substation is already in process. Ørsted and Eversource recently announced the selection of Kiewit Offshore Services, Ltd. (Kiewit), the largest offshore fabricator in the U.S., to design and build the substation for the project. The 1,500-ton, 60-foot-tall substation will be built at Kiewit’s facility in Ingleside, Texas, near Corpus Christi. More than 350 workers across three states will support this South Fork Wind structure, which will be the first made in the U.S.A. offshore wind energy substation.
Long Island-based contractor Haugland Energy Group LLC (an affiliate of Haugland Group LLC) was recently selected to install the duct bank system for the project’s underground onshore transmission line and lead the construction of the onshore interconnection facility located in East Hampton, New York. This new agreement will create more than 100 union jobs for Long Island skilled trades workers, including heavy equipment operators, electricians, lineworkers, and local delivery drivers who will support transportation of materials to the project site.
Offshore installation of the project’s monopile foundations and 11-megawatt Siemens-Gamesa wind turbines is expected to begin in summer 2023.
South Fork Wind will be located about 35 miles east of Montauk Point. Its transmission system will deliver clean energy directly to the electric grid in the Town of East Hampton. Power needs on the South Fork are growing faster than anywhere else on Long Island. In 2015, LIPA and PSEG Long Island issued a request for proposals to address this specific need and selected South Fork Wind because it was part of a portfolio that offers the most cost-effective solution to meet this demand and meet LIPA’s clean energy goals.