Federal energy officials are opening an environmental impact study for what could be the first offshore wind power project in East Coast federal waters, with public sessions next week on the South Fork Wind Farm proposal east of Montauk, N.Y.
The 15-turbine array is proposed by Deepwater Wind, the company that pioneered the first U.S. commercial offshore wind project at Block Island, R.I. Now in the process of being acquired by Denmark-based energy company Ørsted for $510 million, Deepwater Wind would build the South Fork array about 19 miles southeast of Block Island and 35 miles east of Montauk.
The Bureau of Offshore Energy Management is holding public scoping meetings Nov. 5 to Nov. 8 at Amagansett, N.Y.; New Bedford, Mass.; and Narragansett, R.I. Agency officials say they provide “multiple opportunities to help BOEM determine significant resources (e.g. avian, marine mammals) and issues, impact-producing factors, reasonable alternatives, and potential mitigating measures to be analyzed in the EIS.”
The South Fork project enjoys considerable support from New York State government, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made offshore wind development a key part of the state’s energy strategy.
But it faces serious opposition from the Long Island and southern New England fishing industry, who say the project will disrupt their fishing grounds.