South Fork Wind, a 50:50 joint venture between Ørsted and Eversource, made a positive final investment decision (FID) on its 130 MW offshore wind farm in New York, USA.

The project, located off Long Island, is scheduled to come online at the end of 2023. The power will be generated by a dozen 11 MW Siemens Gamesa turbines.

The USA’s offshore wind energy sector has been a long time in the making. Confirmation of these type of projects will be welcomed by the heavy lift and project logistics community. Still, there are ongoing concerns about Jones Act-compliant installation vessel availability, where capacity needs to increase dramatically in order to achieve ambitious installation targets. 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.

Speaking with HLPFI last year, Daniel Rodgers, partner in the New York office of Watson Farley & Williams, said: “It is also important to note that the size of wind energy components has grown exponentially in the past few years. There are some existing offshore support vessels in the Jones Act fleet that could have done some of this work 10 years ago, but only a very limited number today given the specific operating requirements for offshore wind energy projects.” 

Importantly, Rodgers confirmed that while vessels taking components, equipment, and workers to the jobsite from US ports do have to be US flagged, a wind turbine installation vessel that remains onsite does not.

Rodgers also noted that to support the planned wind projects, “port facilities will have to be addressed and upgraded. The bigger components and the bigger vessels will need facilities to accommodate them. Connecticut, Virginia, Massachusetts and a few other states have port renewal and expansion projects under way and offshore wind energy infrastructure will need to be part of the US expansion into offshore wind energy projects.”

Significant development is also under way in New Jersey, where South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC) is readying itself for the upswing. Find out more about how SJPC is positioning its four marine terminals to be at the epicentre of offshore wind development on the USA’s East Coast.