New York State starts construction of first offshore wind farm


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Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

New York State’s first offshore wind project is now under construction and a groundbreaking ceremony was held on Feb. 11 to signify the start of the project’s South Fork Wind site.

These offshore wind sites are essentially wind farms — a grouping of large wind turbines to generate energy from the wind gusts, but in the middle of the water.

In New York’s case, the water is the North Atlantic Ocean, which will be the home to not just South Fork Wind but also to four other offshore wind sites in the coming years. South Fork Wind is both the first and the smallest of the five planned sites off the coast of Long Island.

“If you ask what the energy future looks like, I say, ‘The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,’” New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

The project is the first of its kind in the state and only the second of its kind in the United States. New York is using the project to help reach its goal of having a “zero carbon” electric grid by the year 2040.

In her 2022 State of the State address, Hochul announced a $500 million investment in offshore wind ports, manufacturing for offshore wind ports and supply chain infrastructure to accompany the state’s next offshore wind project.

“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 at the groundbreaking ceremony.

As part of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York has a goal of reaching 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035. The five offshore sites in development will generate more than 4,300 megawatts of offshore wind energy, which is nearly 50% of the state’s 2035 goal.

Two of the state’s upcoming offshore wind ports, Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind, will be able to generate nearly 2,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy, which is enough to power 1.3 million homes.

“America’s clean energy transition is not a dream for a distant future — it is happening right here and now,” Deb Haaland, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“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. 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.”

South Fork Wind, located near the East Hampton area of Long Island, will become operational in late 2023. It will have 12 wind turbines that will generate approximately 130 megawatts of power, enough energy to power more than 70,000 homes.

Over a 25-year period, the clean energy generation by South Fork Wind will eliminate 6 million tons of carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road every year.

“With construction beginning on the South Fork Wind project, we are solidifying New York State’s clean energy vision and blazing a trail as we lead the nation in offshore wind development,” Doreen Harris, President and CEO of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said.

“South Fork is helping to usher in the grid of the future as New York continues to build the most robust offshore wind project and supply chain in the nation, strengthen workforce development and partnerships with labor to provide a pipeline of talent for these critical projects, and establish the green economy that will power New York for years to come.”