Milestone Moments For South Fork Wind

South Fork Wind: Progress Amid Challenges

The inaugural offshore wind turbine for South Fork Wind has been successfully erected, marking a significant achievement in New York’s offshore wind development and positioning itself as the potentially first fully operational utility-scale wind farm in U.S. federal waters.

This 130-MW offshore wind farm, owned by Eversource and Ørsted, aligns with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s ambitious target of achieving 9,000 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2035.

The installation of the first Siemens Gamesa wind turbine generator, one of twelve in total, was executed by the offshore construction team at the project site situated 35 miles off Montauk, N.Y. The construction process has garnered support from numerous U.S. workers and utilized three Northeast ports. The full complement of 12 turbines is anticipated to be in place by the conclusion of 2023 or early 2024.

Van Oord’s offshore installation vessel, the Aeolus, is responsible for the turbine installations, employing a process that entails using a crane to position the steel turbine tower onto the foundation. Subsequently, the nacelle and rotor are affixed atop the tower, followed by the individual installation of blades, securely fastened to the rotor.

“The installation of New York’s initial offshore wind turbine marks a tangible step in realizing the Climate Act’s target of 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035,” stated Thomas Falcone, CEO of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). “LIPA is proud to support this project on behalf of our 1.2 million customers in Long Island and the Rockaways.”

Approved by the LIPA Board of Trustees in 2017, the construction of South Fork Wind commenced in February 2022, reaching a significant milestone in June 2023 with the installation of the first monopile foundation. Nexans, a cable and optical fiber company, recently celebrated the successful installation and acceptance testing of the export cable for the South Fork Wind Farm—a noteworthy achievement as the first American-made subsea cable connecting a U.S. offshore wind farm to the grid.

Upon operationalization, South Fork Wind will be serviced by U.S.-constructed crew transfer vessels and eventually by the country’s inaugural offshore wind Service Operations Vessel.

Despite challenges faced by the U.S. offshore wind industry, including project cancellations due to supply chain issues and economic considerations, positive strides are being made. As Vineyard Wind and South Fork Wind approach delivering their inaugural power to the grid, the approved project pipeline has tripled in size. The Business Network for Offshore Wind’s U.S. Offshore Wind Quarterly Market Report outlines this progress, documenting key investments, increased state demand, and noteworthy policy advancements between July and September 2023.

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Image by Vvoevale from Getty Images

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