Pictured Above: Contractors for Eversource installed duct banks for the wind farm transmission cable in East Hampton this spring. |. Eversource/ Ørsted photo
Now that the weather and traffic on the South Fork has cooled for the fall, onshore work for the South Fork Wind Farm is beginning again this October, with onshore work expected to be completed in the spring of next year and the wind farm expected to be operational by the end of 2023.
The 12-turbine wind farm will be in waters a little more than 30 miles offshore from Montauk, with a power transmission line that comes ashore at Beach Lane in Wainscott, making 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 project is expected to be the first offshore wind farm to provide power to New York State.
Developers gave an update on the progress along the onshore route in a Sept. 12 virtual open house, which viewers can still watch online at southforkwindvirtual.com.
This fall, contractors for Eversource, a New England energy transmission company working with Danish offshore wind developer Ørsted on the project, will finish installing duct banks and splice vaults along a 4.1-miles series of back roads and along the Long Island Rail Road right-of-way between Wainscott and the East Hampton Village substation, after which the transmission cable will be pulled and spliced between the 10 splice vaults along the route beginning in November.
This fall, a jack-up barge will return to the waters off the end of Beach Lane for the horizontal directional drilling work to install the conduit and cable from the end of Beach Lane to the offshore portion of the project.
The barge, also known as a lift vessel, is expected to arrive around November, and be on-site through at least mid-January and possibly as late as early March, depending on weather, Ørsted New York Head of Market Strategy Jennifer Garvey told attendees at the Sept. 12 open house.
Work at the end of Beach Lane will begin Monday, Oct. 3, and be complete by April 30 of 2023, and will be localized to an area of the road about 550 feet from the end of the pavement on Beach Lane, which will be surrounded by a noise barrier, said Ms. Garvey.
While the work there will be done between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, a flagger will be present 24 hours a day to guide motorists around the work setup. The site will be lit with construction lights during working hours, but there would be a minimal amount of safety lighting at night. The beach and beach parking lot will remain open throughout this phase of the project.
Ms. Garvey said the horizontal drilling work site will be located on Beach Lane 1,700 feet from the shore, with the drill boring at least 30 feet under the beach, to a depth of as much as 80 feet under the beach. A plastic conduit sleeve will 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.
“We had a lift vessel that came through here a couple years ago. It was similar to this one,” said Ms. Garvey. “It has the ability to set up above the water.”
Ms. Garvey said the actual wind turbines are expected to be installed in offshore waters in August of 2023. The foundations for the turbines will be installed in May of next year.
“It will go rather quickly, in a manner of weeks,” she said. “There are only 12 of them — the process leading up to this takes the greatest amount of time.”
The majority of the duct bank through which the transmission cable will be pulled was already installed this spring, Eversource Onshore Project Manager Vinnie Montemurro told attendees at the open house. He said Eversource plans to begin work on town roads again in October, installing three more splice vaults on Wainscott Northwest Road and one more vault on Wainscott Stone Road.
By mid-November, he anticipates crews will begin pulling the cable through the duct bank to each of 10 splice vaults, where they will be splicing the cable together. He said it would likely take about two weeks per vault to do the cable pulling and splicing, which is slated to be complete by mid-March to early April.
Attendees were curious whether Eversource plans to repave all the roads they’ve worked on.
“All the roads will be fully resurfaced,” said Mr. Montemurro. “It will be full, edge-to-edge repaving, beginning in the first quarter of 2023. We anticipate concluding by the end of April.”