Pictured above: The liftboat Jill |. Ørsted photo
The progress toward the completion of the South Fork Wind Farm reached a milestone this week with the arrival of a lift barge off of Beach Lane in Wainscott, which will be used to drill under the seabed to connect the export cable from the offshore wind farm to an onshore cable.
The 12-turbine wind farm will be a little more than 30 miles offshore from Montauk. The power transmission cable will come ashore at Beach Lane and then make its way through a series of underground duct banks to an interconnection facility adjacent to a Long Island Power Authority substation in East Hampton Village.
The 183-foot long, 335-foot high lift vessel, named Jill, will be on-site through at least mid-January, according to a spokesperson for the Danish wind farm company Ørsted, which is building the wind farm in partnership with New England transmission company Eversource.
The barge is in waters about a third of a mile offshore, and the drill will be boring horizontally at a depth of as much as 80 feet under the beach. A pilot hole is was in the process of being drilled this week.
A plastic conduit sleeve is slated be floated from New England to the end of the drill bore, where it will be pulled through to Beach Lane to begin the connection process to the landward route, likely in late February or early March. This work will take place concurrently with the pulling of the cable through the onshore duct banks to the East Hampton substation, which is expected to continue through early spring.
The Jill, a Secor Marine liftboat, left its home port in the Gulf of Mexico in late October and traveled to Bridgeport, Conn., accompanied by its 201-foot support vessel, the Secor Brave, to take on equipment before its final journey to Wainscott, where it arrived Nov. 15. The Brave is expected to travel back and forth between the liftboat and Bridgeport for equipment and crew changes.
The foundations for the turbines are expected to be installed in May of next year, after which the wind turbines are expected to be installed in August of 2023, with the intent of the wind farm beginning to produce power by the end of 2023.
When completed, it is slated to be the first offshore wind farm to provide power to New York State, with the capacity to power 70,000 homes.