Pictured Above: The Bocalift 2 arrived in Newport, R.I., this week |. South Fork Wind photo

The offshore phase of the construction of the South Fork Wind Farm is beginning to take shape, as the offshore substation for the 12-turbine wind farm set out from Texas en route to the site about 35 miles off the coast of Montauk in late May, and the installation vessel for the turbine foundations, the Bokalift 2, arrived in the U.S. in early June.

The 750-foot-long foundation installation vessel is owned by the Dutch-based dredging firm Boskalis. It arrived the week of June 5 in Newport, Rhode Island, where it will receive U.S. inspections before making ints way to the wind farm site, where it will install the monopile foundations for the 8 megawatt Siemens Gamesa wind turbines, which are expected to provide power to 70,000 East End homes when operational at the end of this year.

South Fork Wind is providing twice-weekly mariners’ briefings to advise fishermen and offshore mariners of what to expect from the construction at sea, which is weather-dependent.

The South Fork Wind Farm’s offshore substation left port in Texas on May 24 en route to its destination 35 miles off Montauk |. South Fork Wind photo

The offshore substation, constructed by Kiewit Offshore Services, Ltd. in Texas and Kansas, is the first American-built offshore wind substation, announced the companies Ørsted and Eversource, which are building the South Fork Wind Farm, in late May.

“We’re putting American ingenuity to work as we build out a domestic offshore wind energy supply chain with investments and job opportunities spanning the Northeast, down to Texas and across the Gulf Coast region,” said David Hardy, Group EVP and CEO Americas at Ørsted, in an announcement of the completion of the substation.”The completion of South Fork Wind’s offshore wind substation is yet another first for this groundbreaking project and moves us one step closer to the project’s first ‘steel in the water.'”

The 1,5000-ton, 60-foot tall substation is just the first of many offshore wind-related manufacturing projects expected in the Gulf of Mexico region, according to Ørsted and Eversource.

America’s first wind turbine installation vessel, Charybdis, is under construction by Dominion Energy in Brownsville, Texas. Ørsted and Eversource are slated to be the first offshore wind developers to charter the Charybdis for work on Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind, two projects in the companies’ pipelines that are much larger than South Fork Wind. 

Revolution Wind is slated to provide power to Connecticut, while Sunrise Wind, on a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management lease adjacent to the South Fork Wind Farm, will power Long Island, with a transmission cable slated to come ashore at Smith Point in Shirley and travel up William Floyd Parkway.

The Charybdis would be working out of State Pier in New London, Conn. during those projects.

“South Fork Wind continues to demonstrate the enormous power of offshore wind to create a new, American-based supply chain as we work to grow the clean energy industry here in the United States – spreading economic opportunity to workers and local communities across the nation,” said Mike Ausere, Vice President of Business Development at Eversource Energy. “We are proud to mark yet another significant milestone that will bring the promise of a low-carbon future ever-closer to fruition.”

The power from the South Fork Wind Farm will tie in to a LIPA substation on Cove Hollow Road in East Hampton through an underground cable — the onshore cable route work was completed in May of this year. Construction on the onshore substation is underway.

The onshore substation is adjacent to an existing utility substation with a 5 megawatt Battery Energy Storage System [BESS], the East Hampton Energy Storage Center, constructed in a partnership between NextEra Energy and National Grid, which was recently commissioned, but experienced a fire on May 31.

“The fire suppression systems operated as designed and quickly contained the fire,” according to NextEra Energy Spokesman Bill Orlove. “No further emergency response was required. The battery is currently not operating.”

Mr. Orlove said he has no information yet on when that battery storage system will be operational again.

“The cause of the fire remains under investigation,” he said. “No one was injured and there was no threat to the public. The safety of our employees and the communities that we serve is the foundation of our projects.”

South Fork Wind said they “temporarily evacuated our contractors from the project’s new substation” during the fire, which was unrelated to their work. “No one was hurt, and fire officials cleared our team to return to the site once the fire was contained roughly two hours later. The South Fork Wind substation includes a battery system, although the type of batteries, and their usage, is different than those in the nearby Energy Storage Center.”

According to South Fork Wind, their battery system is a backup energy system, not a utility scale BESS system which deploys power to the grid at peak times.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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