Construction begins on New York’s first offshore wind farm

New York State innovated Friday on its first offshore wind farm, kicking off a boom in similar projects aimed at transforming the state’s — and the country’s — energy mix. The South Fork Wind project off Long Island is expected to be operational in late 2023.

New York has the largest pipeline of ongoing offshore wind projects of any state in the country, with five in active development. South Fork Wind is billed as one of the very first commercial-scale offshore wind farms in North America. When complete, it should be able to generate 130 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power 70,000 homes in nearby East Hampton.

This alone equates to a major increase in offshore wind capacity in the United States. So far, the country has only two operational wind farms along its coasts – off Rhode Island and Virginia — with a combined capacity of only 42 MW.

This is expected to change drastically over the next few years. Ørsted and Eversource, the energy companies developing South Fork, have an even bigger project underway nearby: Sunrise Wind, a 924MW wind farm due to come out of the ground Next year.

In total, all offshore projects under development in New York State’s current portfolio total more than 4,300MW clean energy. By 2035, the state hopes to harness more than twice as much renewable energy from offshore wind. To get there, Governor Kathy Hochul in January announcement $500 million in funding to build offshore wind manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure. The money will also be used to upgrade the state’s ports to prepare for the wind farm boom.

By 2035, the Biden administration envisions a 100% clean energy sector nationwide. Offshore wind is expected to play an important role in achieving this goal, the administration setting a target of 30,000 MW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030 last year. In pursuit of this goal, the administration recently announced plans to auction off large tracts of water along the country’s mainland coasts. This includes areas in New York Bay, off the coasts of New York and New Jersey, where the administration plans to hold a offshore wind energy auction later this month.

South Fork Wind is further east, about 35 miles from Montauk Point, Long Island. There, 12 Siemens-Gamesa turbines will tower over the Atlantic – each with blades longer than the Statue of Liberty.

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