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Another major U.S. offshore wind project gets BOEM approval

Image: Ørsted

Posted on November 29, 2021

South Fork Wind has received its Record of Decision from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), successfully reaching a critical milestone in the federal environmental review. South Fork Wind is New York State’s first offshore wind farm.

“In just six months, the U.S. offshore wind industry has seen the approval of two large-scale wind power projects, and momentum is gaining,” said Liz Burdock, president and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “Last week, Vineyard Wind held its groundbreaking ceremony, and this week, the South Fork Wind announcement enhances investor trust in the certainty of the U.S. offshore wind market. This is critical to capturing local economic benefits associated with the offshore wind industry. The issuance of the South Fork Wind Record of Decision, and forthcoming expected final approval in January 2022, creates a highly visible development pipeline which will lead to the project’s financial close and trigger investments in the U.S. domestic offshore wind supply chain.”

South Fork Wind remains on track to be fully permitted by early 2022, and with the project’s joint venture partners Ørsted and Eversource ramping up construction activities soon after on the 132 MW offshore wind farm serving Long Island. The project will kickstart New York’s offshore wind industry and power approximately 70,000 New York homes with clean, offshore wind energy when it begins operations at the end of 2023.


“New York State is facing the challenges of climate change head-on, and we thank the Biden-Harris Administration for their steadfast support,” said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. “With today’s permitting milestone, South Fork Wind is set to be New York’s historic first offshore wind farm providing clean energy where it is needed most. Our nation-leading climate and offshore wind goals demand bold action and moving South Fork Wind forward brings us closer to a cleaner and greener future.”

The approximately 130 MW South Fork Wind project will be located approximately 19 miles southeast of Block Island, R.I., and 35 miles east of Montauk Point, N.Y.

According to BOEM, today’s Record of Decision (ROD) documents the decision to approve South Fork Wind’s plan to install 12 or fewer turbines off Rhode Island. 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. These requirements were developed after consultation with Tribes; Federal, state, and local government agencies; as well as industry, ocean users, and other key partners and stakeholders.


The ROD is jointly signed by and addresses permitting decisions by BOEM and the National Marine Fisheries Service within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Prior to construction, South Fork Wind must submit a facility design report and a fabrication and installation report. These 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, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America.

“South Fork Wind is now on the cusp of making history as New York’s first offshore wind farm, delivering on the promise of clean energy, creating well-paying local jobs and helping combat the worst impacts of climate change,” said Joe Nolan, CEO and president of Eversource Energy. “We look forward to starting onshore construction soon and moving New York a significant step closer toward reaching its nation-leading clean energy goals.”


Ørsted and Eversource say they will soon enter the construction phase of South Fork Wind, with onshore activities beginning first. 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. Ørsted and Eversource recently announced the selection of Kiewit Offshore Services Ltd., 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.

Offshore installation of the project’s monopile foundations and 11 MW Siemens-Gamesa wind turbines is expected to begin in summer 2023.


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