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Full steam ahead for South Fork offshore wind project

Construction on New York State's first offshore wind power project - the 132 MW South Fork wind farm - has moved into high gear, and it's expected to be operational later this year.

By Paul MacDonald

After what seemed like a less than quick start due to regulatory approvals, New York State’s first offshore wind farm—and one of the first major offshore wind farms to be built in the U.S.—is now getting real traction.

The erection of wind turbines is expected to start this summer, off the east coast of the U.S.

According to the project’s joint venture owners, Danish renewable energy company Ørsted and U.S.-based electric utility Eversource,  South Fork Wind remains on track to be America’s first completed utility-scale offshore wind farm. Once complete, the 132 megawatt (MW) South Fork wind farm will serve 70,000 homes on New York’s Long Island with 132 MW of offshore wind energy. The project is located 35 miles off the coast of Long Island.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of the Interior completed the necessary reviews, clearing the way for the start of offshore turbine construction. South Fork is the first commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project to start turbine construction in federal waters in the U.S., and is on track to be operational by the end of 2023.

The project fits well with state and federal policy-makers. New York State has set a goal of installing 9 GW of offshore wind power by 2035, while the Biden Administration is targeting 30 GW of offshore wind capacity nationwide by 2030.

The ripple effect of the project is significant. The investments of Ørsted and Eversource in South Fork Wind and the rest of their northeast U.S. portfolio (they have other offshore wind projects on the go, such as the 704 MW Revolution Wind and the 880 MW Sunrise Wind projects) are supporting the buildout of a new American supply chain.

Ørsted and Eversource are also growing an American offshore wind energy industry that’s creating jobs and driving economic development across dozens of states.

There has been significant work done on the project in the first half of 2023, and work has already been completed on some parts of the project.

South Fork is now well into its offshore construction phase, first with work to install the project’s 68-nautical mile submarine cable from its landfall below Wainscott Beach, on Long Island, to the wind farm site roughly 35 miles east of Montauk, N.Y. Cable laying has been underway and installation of monopile foundations will be going on this summer. Vessels from several Gulf ports are supporting the construction of South Fork Wind.

Dutch firm Boskalis was selected to do the foundation and offshore substations transportation, and installation work for the joint venture’s South Fork Wind and Revolution Wind projects, as well as scour protection installation contracts for its Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind projects.

South Fork Wind is on track to be America’s first completed utility-scale offshore wind farm. South Fork Wind will serve 70,000 homes on New York’s Long Island with 132 MW of offshore wind energy. 

Under the contracts, Boskalis manages transport and installation of three offshore substations and the XXL monopiles for the South Fork Wind and Revolution Wind projects.

The subsea export cable has now been installed, according to Ørsted and Eversource.

The installation work was carried out by Belgian company DEME using its dual-fuel cable laying vessel Living Stone. Reports say the project started in February with seabed preparation which included relocating boulders from the cable route and surveying the route for debris or ghost gear that needs to be removed.

The nearshore section of the export cable, measuring some 52 kilometres in length, was laid first, followed by the offshore section. The cables were buried to a target depth of between 1.2 and 1.8 metres.

The export cable sections have been supplied by Nexans under a contract the French offshore wind cable manufacturer signed with South Fork Wind. Nexans manufactured the cables at its newly transformed subsea high voltage plant in Charleston, South Carolina. Nexans says this is the only plant in the U.S. capable of manufacturing high voltage subsea cables.

The three-phase 138 kV high voltage alternative current (HVAC) cables are integrated with two fibre-optic cables and will transmit electricity produced by the wind farm’s 12 11-megawatt wind turbines supplied by Siemens Gamesa, to Long Island.

The South Fork wind turbines will be connected to each other and the offshore substation via inter-array cables delivered by the Greek subsea cable supplier Hellenic Cables.

In May, South Fork Wind marked the successful, on-schedule completion of the project’s onshore cable system. The delivery of the cable system was performed by both Long Island’s Haugland Group, which led the installation of the duct bank system, and LS Cable, which installed and jointed the onshore cables with support from Long Island’s Elecnor Hawkeye. Work will conclude this summer on the project’s onshore substation.

“The completion of South Fork Wind’s onshore cable installation marks an important milestone for this historic project,” said Jennifer Garvey, Head of Market Strategy, for Ørsted Americas.

Reflecting the regulatory high bar the South Fork Wind project has to meet onshore and offshore, the project teams with the onshore component adhered to and were 100 percent compliant with the more than 200 New York State permit conditions as well as the conditions of the town’s easement agreement.


To build and service its offshore wind projects, Ørsted and Eversource are investing hundreds of

millions of dollars in shipbuilding across the U.S. Gulf Coast, and workers from several of the region’s companies are putting their experience from other ocean-based industries to work in this new energy sector.


As part of a multi-disciplinary team, engineering and consulting firm Stantec provided overall quality review of the South Fork Wind Construction and Operations Plan (COP) and supported the preparation of relevant technical studies, including the preparation of assessment of potential impacts to avian and bat species, with project-specific field surveys.

Stantec also provided program management during the preparation of the project’s associated state and federal applications to permit the construction, operation, and maintenance of the associated utility scale transmission and interconnection facilities.

To build and service its offshore wind projects, Ørsted and Eversource are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in shipbuilding across the U.S. Gulf Coast, and workers from several of the region’s companies are putting their experience from other ocean-based industries to work in this new energy sector.

In what was said to be a milestone for the growth of the U.S. offshore wind supply chain, Ørsted and Eversource recently marked the “sail away” of the first American-built offshore wind substation, which departed a Texas fabrication facility in May. The substation transited across the Gulf of Mexico and then up the East Coast for installation at the South Fork Wind project site.

Kiewit Offshore Services, Ltd., the largest offshore fabricator in the U.S., designed and built the substation.

Kiewit built the 1,500-ton, 60-foot-tall substation at its Ingleside, Texas facility, near Corpus Christi. The fabrication workers in Ingleside were supported by teams in Houston and Kansas. The substation was designed and engineered in Kansas.

The South Fork Wind substation is a topside structure that will sit on a monopile foundation within the wind farm, collecting the power produced by wind turbines and connecting it to the grid.

“We’re putting American ingenuity to work as we build out a domestic offshore wind energy supply chain with investments and job opportunities spanning the northeast, down to Texas and across the Gulf Coast region,” said David Hardy, Group Executive Vice-President and CEO Americas at Ørsted. “The completion of South Fork Wind’s offshore wind substation is yet another first for this groundbreaking project and moves us one step closer to the project’s first ‘steel in the water.’”


The Kiewit team’s work is just one of several ways that Texas—and the Gulf of Mexico region—is playing a central role in the buildout of a new domestic offshore energy supply chain.

America's first wind turbine installation vessel, Charybdis, was built, in Brownsville, Texas. Ørsted and Eversource will be the first offshore wind developers to charter the Charybdis.

The Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) is the first Jones Act-qualified wind farm service operations vessel, and will support Ørsted and Eversource’s northeast U.S. projects. More than 400 workers are building the vessel at ECO shipyards in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida, with components of the vessel sourced from across 34 states.

“This shipyard and this vessel are living proof that American offshore wind energy is providing economic opportunity and creating jobs today across the country,” said Ørsted’s David Hardy.

“This first American service operations vessel represents the ingenuity of businesses like Edison Chouest to build upon their legacy in offshore energy and to supply a cutting-edge vessel that will allow workers to safely and effectively operate offshore,” Hardy said.

“This vessel is a testament to American leadership,” added Mike Austere, Vice President of Business Development at Eversource Energy. “Designed and built in the United States; as long as the Superdome is tall. It is able to host 60 wind turbine technicians—all whom will benefit from the vessel’s state-of-the-art accommodations to keep them safe and well-cared for while at sea—and is ready to support the long-term operations and maintenance of our portfolio of offshore wind farms and consequent production of enough energy to power more than a million U.S. homes.” 

These first American offshore wind turbine technicians will work at-sea over the life of the wind farms, servicing and maintaining the wind turbines.

Ørsted, Eversource and Edison Chouest expect to christen the ECO Edison in 2024, and the vessel will play an integral part of the operation and maintenance of Ørsted and Eversource’s Revolution Wind, South Fork Wind and Sunrise Wind projects, together planned to generate more than 1.7 gigawatts of offshore wind energy.

The ECO Edison’s special-purpose design is said to be focused on passenger safety and comfort, enhanced maneuverability, extended offshore endurance and reduced emissions. It includes special features like a “walk to work” motion-compensated gangway that allows technicians to easily and safely access the wind turbines. A smaller, so-called “daughter” craft onboard can be deployed to efficiently maneuver crew across the wind farms.
Ørsted’s first class of U.S. offshore wind turbine technicians are already completing extensive training, preparing to begin work offshore when South Fork Wind is completed later this year.

All things considered, the South Fork Wind Project looks to be just the start of some exciting, and busy times, ahead for the U.S. offshore wind power industry with the number of projects getting the green-light growing.


Q3 2023