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    Tuesday, April 16, 2024

    Last offshore wind turbine parts leave New London

    The South Fork Wind turbine #12 at State Pier in New London Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, ready for departure to South Fork Wind located 35 miles off Montauk, N.Y.. (Dana Jensen/The Day).
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    The South Fork Wind turbine #12 ready Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, for departure to South Fork Wind located 35 miles off Montauk, N.Y.. (Dana Jensen/The Day).
    Buy Photo Reprints

    New London ― And then there were none.

    Less than a year after the offshore wind industry landed in New London with the delivery of components for the nation’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm, the final pieces of New York’s South Fork Wind slowly made their way by barge up the Thames River on Friday night.

    The parts, which include 330-foot-long turbine blades, 520-metric-ton nacelles and pieces of towers that when completed will rise 800 feet in height, were headed 35 miles off the coast of Montauk, N.Y., to the 12-turbine wind farm.

    "It has been immensely gratifying to see the assembly and delivery of South Fork Wind turbines come to completion under the intended scenario for the transformed State Pier,” Ulysses Hammond, executive director of the Connecticut Port Authority, said on Friday.

    South Fork Wind, a joint venture between Danish wind company Ørsted and Eversource, is on track to be completed by the end of the month, delivering 132 megawatts of power to the East Hampton, N.Y., power grid, enough to power an estimated 70,000 homes. One megawatt can power about 500 homes.

    The last barge loaded with components left State Pier at 6 p.m. New London Mayor Michael Passero said he would likely be able to catch a glimpse of the barge moving down the Thames while having dinner at On the Waterfront restaurant.

    Prior to his election as mayor in 2015, Passero said he never would have predicted the $309 million transformation of State Pier or that New London would become a centerpiece for the country’s burgeoning offshore wind industry.

    Aside from a $1 million annual financial boost to the city through a host community agreement and other revenue-sharing benefits, Passero said there is a certain prestige to being the center of attention.

    “It just raises the profile of New London and helps put us back on the map the way the whaling era put us on the map,” Passero said.

    South Fork Wind

    South Fork Wind

    MASSACHUSETTS

    Delivered its first jolt of power to Long Island, N.Y., Dec. 6. When completed this spring, it’s 12 turbines will supply enough electricity to light 70,000 homes.

    Cape Cod

    RHODE

    ISLAND

    CONNECTICUT

    New London

    *

    Long Island

    Wainscott

    *

    The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wind lease areas are shown in orange

    Map: Scott Ritter/The Day | Data: BOEM; South Fork Wind; ESRI

    South Fork Wind

    Delivered its first jolt of power to Long Island, N.Y., Dec. 6. When completed this spring, it’s 12 turbines will supply enough electricity to light 70,000 homes.

    Cape Cod

    Martha’s Vineyard

    to Wainscott, Long Island

    The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wind lease areas are shown in orange

    Map: Scott Ritter/The Day | Data: BOEM; South Fork Wind; ESRI

    What’s next at State Pier?

    With the last wind turbine parts cleared from State Pier, Hammond said work would continue to complete the construction project, which is overseen by the port authority. Dredging is currently underway and on track for completion this month, he said. Work is also ongoing on one of two new heavy-lift platforms.

    Hammond said the objective this quarter is to turn over 100% of the site to port operator Gateway Terminal for the next project, Revolution Wind.

    As it did for South Fork, State Pier will be the staging and pre-assembly area for Revolution Wind, a wind farm nearly six times the size of South Fork Wind, with 65 turbines situated 15 nautical miles southeast of Point Judith, R.I. Revolution Wind will be the first wind farm to bring renewable power to Connecticut. The joint venture of Ørsted and Eversource will generate 704 megawatts of power -- 304 megawatts to Connecticut and 400 to Rhode Island.

    Hammond said Gateway will use the experience gained from South Fork Wind “to continue the smooth operation that Gateway Terminal established over the past several months.”

    Downturn in offshore wind industry

    Ørsted, which canceled two other planned wind projects in the U.S. last year and announced plans to cut jobs earlier this month, said it remains committed to the Revolution Wind project. The offshore wind industry has been hit by a series of setbacks that offshore wind developers blame on increased costs associated with higher interest rates and supply chain disruptions. Ørsted was among several developers to cancel contracts in the Northeast because of increased costs.

    In a statement on Friday, Ørsted said onshore work for Revolution Wind “continues to steadily progress and we anticipate components for the project to begin arriving at State Pier this spring.”

    Vineyard Wind

    Vineyard Wind

    MASSACHUSETTS

    Its first turbine began sending power to the electric grid at 11:52 p.m. Jan. 2. Once completed, 62 wind towers will churn out enough power for around 400,000 homes.

    Cape Cod

    Barnstable

    *

    RHODE

    ISLAND

    CONNECTICUT

    New London

    *

    Long Island

    The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wind lease areas are shown in orange

    Map: Scott Ritter/The Day | Data: BOEM; Vineyard Wind; ESRI

    Vineyard Wind

    Its first turbine began sending power to the electric grid at 11:52 p.m. Jan. 2. Once completed, 62 wind towers will churn out enough power for around 400,000 homes.

    MASSACHUSETTS

    Barnstable

    *

    Martha’s Vineyard

    The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wind lease areas are shown in orange

    Map: Scott Ritter/The Day | Data: BOEM; Vineyard Wind; ESRI

    Eversource announced last year it was exiting the offshore wind industry and selling its stake in the joint projects with Ørsted.

    Eversource has since announced it had an agreement to sell its 50% ownership share in both South Fork and Revolution Wind to Global Infrastructure Partners, exiting the projects while “retaining certain cost sharing obligations for the construction of Revolution Wind.”

    Eversource said it expects to enter into a separate construction management agreement as a contractor for Revolution Wind to complete the onshore work that is already underway.

    Ørsted has rebid its Sunrise Wind project, also in New York, as part of New York’s latest offshore wind solicitation. As part of the newest proposal, Ørsted has agreed to acquire Eversource’s 50% share of the planned 924-megawatt farm.

    By comparison, Dominion’s nuclear power plant, Millstone Power Station in Waterford, generates more than 2,000 megawatts and powers about 2 million homes.

    Planning for the next project

    For Revolution Wind, Hammond said wind turbine components will come in incrementally and be stored, partially assembled and shipped to the Revolution Wind site -- just as they were for South Fork Wind -- on a continuous rotation of incoming and outgoing vessels carrying components until the project is completed.

    The project was originally supposed to make use of the first U.S.-built and Jones Act-compliant offshore wind turbine installation vessel, called Charybis. Construction of Charybis, however, is still underway. Dominion Energy, the owner of the massive, 472-foot-long ship, has announced the vessel will not be ready until the end of 2024 or early in 2025.

    Tony Sheridan, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, said it’s exciting to have the region “front and center of a new industry, new to America.” Sheridan traveled to Denmark last spring in hopes of luring wind turbine manufacturers to the U.S. He sees a future in manufacturing tied to the maritime industry.

    Sheridan said there are good jobs associated with the industry, and in light of the expense of the cost to develop State Pier, thinks the state and Gov. Ned Lamont are rightly looking ahead.

    Revolution Wind

    Revolution Wind

    MASSACHUSETTS

    Some 65 turbines could be turning by next year. About 400 megawatts of power is expected to flow to Rhode Island; 304 megawatts would be purchased by Connecticut consumers.

    Cape Cod

    RHODE

    ISLAND

    Quonset Point

    *

    CONNECTICUT

    New London

    *

    Long Island

    The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wind lease areas are shown in orange

    Map: Scott Ritter/The Day | Data: BOEM; Revolution Wind; ESRI

    Revolution Wind

    Some 65 turbines could be turning by 2025. About 400 megawatts of power is expected to flow to Rhode Island; another 304 megawatts would be purchased by Connecticut consumers.

    MASSACHUSETTS

    to Quonset Point, R.I.

    Martha’s Vineyard

    The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wind lease areas are shown in orange

    Map: Scott Ritter/The Day | Data: BOEM; Revolution Wind; ESRI

    Hammond also credited the governor and state leaders for “putting the Port of New London and State Pier at the forefront of this new American industry delivering clean, sustainable, domestic offshore wind energy.”

    “I came out of retirement to see this project through and I am over the moon about what the citizens of Connecticut and our Partners have accomplished. We are the country's example of what's possible when it comes to the decarbonization of our nation,” he said.

    Sunrise Wind

    Sunrise Wind

    Around 80 turbines, generating 924 megawatts, could be turning by 2026. That’s enough to power nearly 600,000 Long Island homes and businesses.

    MASSACHUSETTS

    Cape Cod

    RHODE

    ISLAND

    CONNECTICUT

    New London

    *

    Long Island

    to Smith Point, Long Island

    The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wind lease areas are shown in orange

    Map: Scott Ritter/The Day | Data: BOEM; Sunrise Wind; ESRI

    Sunrise Wind

    Around 80 turbines, generating 924 megawatts, could be turning by 2026. That’s enough to power nearly 600,000 Long Island homes and businesses.

    MASSACHUSETTS

    Martha’s Vineyard

    to Smith Point, Long Island

    The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wind lease areas are shown in orange

    Map: Scott Ritter/The Day | Data: BOEM; Sunrise Wind; ESRI

    g.smith@theday.com

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