Federal regulators clear way for construction of NY’s first offshore wind farm

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Federal regulators have approved construction of New York State’s first offshore wind farm, South Fork Wind. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has approved the project’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP) clearing the way for the project to commence work.

The project’s partners Ørsted and Eversource say they are now entering the construction phase with site preparation and onshore activities in East Hampton for the project’s underground duct bank system and interconnection facility.

Last summer, the project awarded the contract for the construction of the offshore substation to Kiewit Offshore Services, The Maritime Executive reported. Fabrication of the 1,500-ton, 60-foot-tall substation has started at at Kiewit’s facility in Ingleside, Texas.

Meanwhile, 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 about 35 miles east of Montauk Point at the eastern tip of Long Island and South of Rhode Island.

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. The approval of the plan follows the BOEM’s November 2021 issuance of its Record of Decision, which concluded the thorough BOEM-led environmental review of the project. The COP is the last step in the licenses process, the published report says.

“We’re excited to reach this critical point and receive BOEM’s final approval of our Construction and Operations Plan,” David Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Ørsted Offshore North America, said in a statement. “As New York’s first offshore wind farm, South Fork Wind is already contributing to a new statewide and U.S. manufacturing era and maritime industry, including good-paying union jobs through our labor partnerships and vision for the industry.”

In other initiatives, the BOEM plans to conduct bidding in late February for six lease areas located outside New York harbor and to the south along the New Jersey coast. “The auction, which is the first under the Biden Administration, will be the most leases offered in a single auction,” Maritime Executive says. “The offer documents highlight an area of more than 480,000 acres. They estimate that this sale could result in 5.6 to 7 gigawatts of offshore wind energy.”

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