Interior Department approves South Fork Wind project in Rhode Island

Published on December 01, 2021 by Dave Kovaleski

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The U.S. Department of the Interior approved the construction of the South Fork Wind project located off the coast of Rhode Island.

This is the Department’s second approval of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project in the United States after the Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts, which broke ground on construction last week.

“We have no time to waste in cultivating and investing in a clean energy economy that can sustain us for generations,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said. “Just one year ago, there were no large-scale offshore wind projects approved in the federal waters of the United States. Today there are two, with several more on the horizon. This is one of many actions we are taking in pursuit of the President’s goal to open the doors of economic opportunity to more Americans.”

The 130-megawatt South Fork Wind project will be located approximately 19 miles southeast of Block Island and 35 miles east of Montauk Point, New York. It will feature no more than 12 turbines and will generate enough power for about 70,000 homes.

“Achieving the 30 GW goal can result in the creation of tens of thousands of good-paying union jobs across the country, as America moves to ramp up domestic supply chains for all aspects of offshore renewable energy development,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Mineral Management Laura Daniel-Davis said. “Today’s announcement, coupled with critical investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help us meet our goals for sustainable economies, clean energy, and climate resilience.”

The construction of South Fork Wind will create about 340 jobs. Before construction can begin, South Fork Wind must submit a facility design report and a fabrication and installation report.

The DOIʻs Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) expects to review at least 16 Construction and Operations Plans of commercial offshore wind energy facilities by 2025. If approved, this would represent more than 19 GW of clean energy for the nation, which would be well on the way to reaching the goal set by the Biden-Harris administration of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030.

The American Clean Power Association (ACP) applauded the approval of the project.

“With a national goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, America has an opportunity to jump-start the offshore wind industry,” ACP CEO Heather Zichal said. “This will create up to 83,000 jobs and deliver $25 billion in annual investments into our economy by the end of this decade. The approval of the South Fork project builds momentum and certainty for the offshore wind industry and its vast supply chain, including new American fabrication facilities, ports, vessels, and workforce training.”