South Fork Wind marked completion of the project’s onshore export cable system this week, after 15 months of work trenching and laying cable down 4.1 miles of back roads and Long Island Rail Road rights of way to a substation in East Hampton Village.

Representatives for the wind farm say this portion of the work has been completed on schedule, putting South Fork Wind on track to meet its goal of being operational by the end of this year.

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Crews worked to install the duct bank along back roads in Wainscott last year |. Ørsted photo

South Fork Wind is a 12-turbine, 130 megawatt offshore wind farm slated to be built 35 miles offshore from Montauk Point, which is estimated will provide enough electricity to power 70,000 New York homes. It would be the first, and smallest, of many offshore wind farms planned to bring electric power to New York State.

After years of back-and-forth between East Hampton Town, the East Hampton Town Trustees, residents of Wainscott and the wind farm, the town and South Fork Wind reached an agreement in 2021 that the wind farm would provide $28.9 million in Host Community Agreement benefits to the town over the next 25 years in exchange for use of town roads and rights of way.

Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott sued twice to try to block the wind farm cable from being placed along local roads, but were thwarted by the courts.

That work is now complete.

“Crews have demobilized all equipment from the project’s cable route and completed restoration, including “edge to edge” repaving of the town roads and reseeding of the grassy shoulders,” said South Fork Wind in a May 15 statement.

The work was performed by more than 100 union workers from Haugland Group, LS Cable Systems America, Inc and Elecnor Hawkeye. Work will continue this summer at the substation, which is off of Cove Hollow Road.

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

Signs along the cable route the February 2022 day Governor Kathy Hochul came to town to kick off the onshore construction.

The wind farm, originally proposed by a company called Deepwater Wind that has since been purchased by the Danish wind farm company Ørsted, is being constructed by Ørsted in collaboration with New England energy transmission company Eversource.

“As the East Hampton Town Board Liaison to the South Fork Wind project, I am happy to report that the project teams adhered to and were 100 percent compliant with the more than 200 New York State permit conditions as well as the conditions of the town’s easement agreement,” said East Hampton Town Councilwoman Cate Rogers. “Ørsted, Eversource, their subcontractors, and the compliance and outreach teams were immediately responsive to any concerns both from the town and the community. This is a job well done.”

Deepwater Wind, and then Ørsted, met dozens of times with the East Hampton Trustees while seeking permits for the project, answering questions about the impact it could have on habitat and fisheries.

“The quality of the cable installation far exceeded the expectations of the Town Trustees,” said Francis Bock, Clerk for East Hampton Town Trustees. “We greatly appreciate the diligence of of all involved.”

South Fork Wind is now working to install the project’s 68-nautical mile submarine cable from its landfall below Wainscott Beach to the wind farm site roughly 35 miles east of Montauk. Installation of the foundations for the turbines is expected to begin in early summer, after which the 12 Siemens Gamesa 11-megawatt turbines are expected to be installed on-site in late summer.

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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