Federal, state and local officials announced the start of construction of the South Fork Wind project at a press event in Wainscott Friday.
The project from Ørsted and Eversource is the state’s first offshore wind installation and will put a dozen wind turbines about 35 miles east of Montauk Point. Its transmission system will deliver energy directly to the electric grid in the Town of East Hampton and is expected to be operational in late 2023.
The turbines will generate about 130 megawatts of power, enough to power more than 70,000 homes, according to a statement from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office. South Fork Wind is expected to eliminate 6 million tons of carbon emissions over 25 years, which is the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road.
The state has set a goal of developing 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.
“The harsh impacts and costly realities of climate change are all too familiar on Long Island, but today as we break ground on New York’s first offshore wind project we are delivering on the promise of a cleaner, greener path forward that will benefit generations to come,” Hochul said. “South Fork Wind will eliminate up to 6 million tons of carbon emissions over the next 25 years benefiting not only the Empire State, but our nation as a whole. This project will also create hundreds of good-paying jobs, helping spur economic growth across the region as we continue to recover from COVID-19. This is a historic day for New York, and I look forward to continue working with Secretary Haaland as we lead our nation toward a greener, brighter future for all.”
US Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who joined Hochul at the South Fork Wind groundbreaking, said America’s clean energy transition is not a dream for a distant future, but is happening right here and now.
“Offshore wind will power our communities, advance our environmental justice goals, and stimulate our economy by creating thousands of good-paying union jobs across the nation,” Haaland said in the statement. “This is one of many actions we are taking in pursuit of the president’s goal to improve both the lives of American families and the health of our planet.”
Long Island Power Authority CEO Thomas Falcone said: “In 2017, the forward-thinking approach of the LIPA Board of Trustees led to the approval of the South Fork Wind project at a time when there were no other power purchase agreements for offshore wind in the country. As the first offshore wind farm in New York, South Fork Wind is the beginning of a new industry for our region that will be vital to New York meeting its goal of a zero-carbon electric grid by 2040.”
The start of the South Fork Wind project comes on the heels of last month’s announcement by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that it has scheduled an offshore wind auction on Feb. 23 for an area of 488,000 acres in the New York Bight, a large triangular-shaped area of the water that stretches from Cape May, N.J. to Montauk Point.
The auction will allow offshore wind developers to bid on six lease areas, the most areas ever offered in a single auction. Leases offered in the sale could result in 5.6 to 7 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, enough to power nearly 2 million homes.
New York State has five offshore wind projects in active development, the largest portfolio in the nation. It 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 projects are also expected to create more than 6,800 jobs in project development, component manufacturing, installation, and operations and maintenance.
“The governor and her team have led us to this historic day,” Mariah Dignan, Long Island regional director at Climate Jobs NY, said via email. “It is exciting to break ground on New York‘s first offshore wind project, and it is even more exciting that this is only the beginning. We have a generational opportunity to conceive an offshore wind industry that will create good union jobs, revitalize local manufacturing and secure a domestic supply chain for decades to come. Climate Jobs NY is eager to work with our environmental and industry allies to realize this evergreen industry on Long Island.”