Wind Farm Construction Info In Virtual Session

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The installation of the South Fork Wind Farm cable under Wainscott roads could begin in January if federal permits for the project are granted as expected. The project's developers will host a virtual "open house" on November 15 to share information with residents about how the construction will proceed.

The wind farm developer Ørsted will hold an informational “open house” on Zoom on Monday, November 15, at which officials from the company will lay out the timeline for the on-shore construction phases and answer questions from participants.

The open house— originally planned to be an in-person event, but shifted to the virtual format because of the lingering concerns about the spread of COVID-19 — will begin at 6 p.m.

Residents wishing to participate in the discussion with staff from Ørsted, the Danish wind energy corporation that owns the South Fork Wind Farm project with New England utility company Eversource, can register to participate at southforkwindvirtual.com.

The South Fork Wind Farm has still not secured all of its federal permits allowing the project to progress, but is expected to receive its final approvals later this year or very early next year.

New York State has already granted the needed approvals for the installation of the power supply cable that will connect the wind farm to land, in East Hampton, and the first tangible construction work on the project will be the digging of the underground vaults and duct banks in which the power cable and its accompanying equipment would be nestled.

The fist steps of construction are tentatively scheduled to begin as soon as late January 2022, according to an Ørsted spokesperson.

Over the first two to three months, crews will be excavating the trenches along approximately 2 miles of town roads in Wainscott for the duct banks that will conceal the foot-thick power cable as it runs from the Beach Lane parking lot to the Long Island Rail Road corridor. Beneath the parking and every 1,000 to 1,500 feet along the cable route, there will also be school-bus-sized concrete “vaults” installed beneath the roadway for the cable equipment.

All construction will be halted and the trenches covered by Memorial Day weekend, for the start of the busy summer season. In October, crews will resume work and begin the most intense period of the construction project: the “horizontal directional drilling” of the conduit that will extend more than 1,700 feet out into the seafloor of the Atlantic, where the cable will be drawn ashore. The drilling equipment, which will be working around-the-clock at key periods, will be staged in the Beach Lane parking lot.

Ørsted says it expects all of the onshore construction work to be completed by May 2023, with the project still tentatively slated to come online by the end of that year.

The project plan now calls for 12 turbines, each more than 700 feet tall, to be erected on the ocean floor approximately 30 miles southeast of Montauk Point, in a popular fishing area known as Cox Ledge. The turbines are billed as able to provide up to 130 megawatts of power — enough to power about 60,000 homes.

The wind farm project has been met with strident opposition from commercial fishermen and some environmentalists concerned the construction and operation of the turbines — and hundreds more also planned for the same stretch of the ocean — will disrupt historical migration patterns of fish and marine mammals like striped bass and the endangered northern right whales.

Wainscott residents have also fiercely opposed the Beach Lane landing site, though state regulators largely dismissed their pleas that the landing be shifted to Montauk or Amagansett.

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