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Wind Farm Road Work Is Done

Thu, 05/18/2023 - 11:25
Beach Lane in Wainscott has been restored after a long project to install the South Fork Wind farm’s export cable under the beach and its parking lot, completing onshore construction of New York State’s first offshore wind farm.
Durell Godfrey

Onshore cable installation for South Fork Wind has been completed, the wind farm’s developer announced this week, and the affected roadways have been restored.

The 12-turbine, 130-megawatt wind farm, to be located in a federal lease area about 35 miles off Montauk Point, is to be operational by year’s end. Offshore construction work is underway, initially with work to install the 68-nautical-mile submarine cable from its landfall at Wainscott Beach. The wind farm’s turbines are to be installed during the summer.

Crews have demobilized all equipment from the project’s cable route and completed restoration, including “edge to edge” repaving of town roads and reseeding of grassy shoulders, according to a statement issued by the developers, Orsted and Eversource, on Monday.

Late in the winter, a lift boat and support vessel were parked offshore. A sound-attenuating wall surrounding a temporary installation near the end of Beach Lane for the pulling of the export cable through previously-installed conduit has been taken down.

Onshore, the cable travels underground from there to a Long Island Power Authority substation in East Hampton, where it connects to the electrical grid. That installation required disturbance to town roads and Long Island Rail Road rights of way. Restoration of the roads was completed on schedule, though the wind farm’s developer had asked that an extension be granted to complete the restoration of Beach Lane. The town board granted a brief extension. Work will conclude on the onshore substation, off Cove Hollow Road, during the summer.

“The completion of South Fork Wind’s onshore cable installation marks an important milestone for this historic project,” Jennifer Garvey, Orsted America’s head of market strategy, New York, said in the statement issued on Monday. “We want to thank the East Hampton community for their support and cooperation as we completed this work over the last 15 months. Now that we’re done, the only evidence of the onshore cable in the roads is fresh pavement and several manhole covers.”

“The onshore portion is now complete which brings us ever closer to reaching East Hampton’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030,” Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said in the same statement. “I want to thank South Fork Wind for their community outreach, transparency, and attention to detail throughout the construction process.”

In related news, Connecticut-based Eversource Energy is selling its interests in joint ventures with the Danish energy company Orsted, according to a report last week in the Providence Business Journal. This comes four years after Eversource paid approximately $225 million for a 50-percent interest in the South Fork Wind and Revolution Wind farms as well as a 257-square-mile tract off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

In a Business Journal article on Friday, Joe Nolan, Eversource Energy’s chief executive officer, said that the company was “de-risking the business” and would sell all of its offshore interests before July 1. Orsted had acquired the three assets from Deepwater Wind in 2018 and entered into a partnership with Eversource the following year.

In a statement provided to The Star on Monday, Jeff Kotkin, Eversource Energy’s vice president of investor relations, said that “The strategic review of our offshore wind assets remains ongoing, and a final decision on whether to divest has not been reached. We expect to make an announcement regarding our strategic review in the second quarter of this year. Our joint venture agreement with Orsted spells out a process to follow in the event of a potential divestment. While we can’t comment on the specifics of that process, we are working in close collaboration with our partner. South Fork Wind remains on track to begin operations later this year.”

The Providence Business Journal quoted a spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, who said that any divestment by Eversource Energy was unlikely to delay wind farm construction.

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