Yesterday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that South Fork Wind, New York's first offshore wind farm, has achieved its "steel in the water" milestone with the installation of the project's first monopile foundation.
Later this summer, South Fork Wind will install the project's U.S.-built offshore substation. The project remains on-track to become the first U.S. utility-scale offshore wind farm to be completed in federal waters. The goal of the project is to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.
The announcement comes just two weeks after the completion of the first monopile foundation at Vineyard Wind 1, the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project.
The two projects will be staged out of the ports of New London, Conn., and New Bedford, Mass., using local labor and supply chain participants. Additional foundation components for South Fork Wind were fabricated in Providence, R.I. Advancement of the South Fork Wind project includes additional key U.S. milestones, as the project includes the first U.S.-built substation for offshore wind and will be serviced by the ECO Edison, the first U.S.-built service operation vessel for offshore wind.
“We have achieved steel in the water," Business Network for Offshore Wind CEO Liz Burdock told CBS News. "America’s first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects have now both installed their first foundation components and will soon be delivering clean, reliable power to the grid. In support of our industry’s advancement, a supply chain of shipbuilders, factories, small business suppliers, and labor unions is coming to life, creating jobs across the country and showcasing how the offshore wind industry is revitalizing manufacturing communities from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes and East Coast. The U.S. industry is just getting started, and the demand for vessels, parts, and labor means we need more suppliers, manufacturers, and engineers to get involved and help build this next great American industry.”
"New York is leading offshore wind development and building a green economy that will support hundreds of good-paying jobs and benefit generations to come," Gov. Hochul said in a statement. "This progress on building the first utility-scale offshore wind project in the country cements New York as a national hub for the offshore wind industry."
Once completed, the state said the wind farm will generate enough renewable energy to power roughly 70,000 homes helping New York meet its ambitious Climate Act goals, while eliminating up to six million tons of carbon emissions, or the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road annually over a 25-year period. It's estimated that hundreds of U.S. workers and three Northeast ports will support South Fork Wind's construction through late fall.
First approved by the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in 2017, South Fork Wind was selected under a 2015 request for proposals to address growing energy needs on the east end of Long Island.
"Today marks a significant step in New York's clean energy journey and for LIPA's commitment to ensure a sustainable and resilient future for our customers. "Years in the making, this project milestone signifies that our efforts are transforming from vision into reality," LIPA CEO Tom Falcone said in a statement. "We are proud to be a part of this landmark project and will continue to lead and innovate in our pursuit of a sustainable future for Long Island and in the Rockaways."
With yesterday's milestone, South Fork Wind officially enters its wind turbine installation phase, the final construction period on the 12-turbine, 130-megawatt project. South Fork Wind launched in February 2022, beginning with the onshore export cable system. The project is one of five offshore wind projects New York State has in active development, the largest portfolio in the nation. The state said the current portfolio totals more than 4,300 megawatts and will power more than 2.4 million New York homes, and it is expected to bring a combined economic impact of $12.1 billion to the state.
The state said the projects are also expected to create more than 6,800 jobs in project development, component manufacturing, installation, and operations and maintenance. Achieving the state's 9,000 megawatts by 2035 goal will generate enough offshore wind energy to power approximately 30% of its electricity needs, equivalent to nearly six million New York homes, and spur approximately 10,000 jobs.
During South Fork Wind's construction period this summer and fall at the project site roughly 35 miles east of Montauk, N.Y., construction and transport barges, tugboats, crew vessels, and protected special observer monitoring vessels will be active at the offshore construction site. Vessel and crane operators, boat captains and crew, engineers, welders, scientists, protected species observers and dozens of others are involved in the operation.
An offshore installation vessel, Boskalis's Bokalift 2, is transporting and installing the foundations. South Fork Wind includes the first U.S.-built offshore wind substation. More than 350 U.S. workers across three states supported construction of this South Fork Wind substation, a topside structure that will collect the power produced by wind turbines and connecting it to the grid.
Advanced foundation components will be transported to the site for installation. Finally, the wind farm's Siemens-Gamesa 11-megawatt wind turbine generators will be installed.