The U.S. Department of the Interior announced on November 24, 2021 that it has approved the construction and operations of the South Fork Wind project in the Rhode Island offshore. This represents the Department’s second approval of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project in the United States. The previous week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland celebrated the groundbreaking of the first commercial scale offshore wind project, located off the coast of Massachusetts.
Building infrastructure and creating jobs to advance a clean energy future is a hallmark of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The South Fork Wind project, which is estimated in capacity at approximately 130-megawatts, will be located approximately 19 miles southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island, and 35 miles east of Montauk Point, New York. It is expected to create about 340 jobs and provide 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,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Mineral Management Laura Daniel-Davis. “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.”
A Record of Decision (ROD) filed on November 24, 2021 documents the decision to approve South Fork Wind, LLC’s plan to install 12 or fewer turbines off Rhode Island.
The ROD adopts a range of measures to help avoid, minimize and mitigate potential impacts that could result from the construction and operation of the proposed project. These requirements were developed after consultation with Tribes; federal, state, and local government agencies; as well as industry, oceanic interests, and other key partners and stakeholders.
The ROD is jointly signed by and addresses permitting decisions by Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the National Marine Fisheries Service within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Prior to construction, South Fork Wind, LLC must submit a facility design report and a fabrication and installation report. These engineering and technical reports provide specific details for how the facility will be fabricated and installed in accordance with South Fork’s approved plan for construction and operations.
In its first four months, the Biden-Harris administration catalyzed the offshore wind industry by announcing the first-ever national offshore wind energy mandate, creating a clear vision for the future of this innovative industry.
BOEM expects to review at least 16 Construction and Operations Plans of commercial offshore wind energy facilities by 2025, which would represent more than 19 GW of clean energy for the nation.
The Administration is preparing for lease sales in the New York Bight and offshore the Carolinas and California next year, and is actively working with states, Tribes and key stakeholders to explore wind potential in the Gulf of Maine and in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as offshore Oregon and Hawaii.
About Guice Offshore’s Jones Act-Compliant Offshore Support Vessel Fleet
Guice Offshore, an offshore supply vessel and offshore maritime transportation company, noted that the move further positions Rhode Island’s South Fork Wind Project as a hub for clean energy and the U.S. offshore wind industry. The development will provide a location for offshore wind farm infrastructure activities in which Guice Offshore is experienced, including essential staging, assembly, and manufacturing activities related to offshore wind along the U.S. East Coast.
With a modern fleet of dynamically positioned offshore supply vessels and mini-supply vessels, Guice Offshore has been involved in offshore wind infrastructure development, with our offshore vessels having performed a variety of functions across the various stages of wind energy projects, such as surveying, transportation of blades and turbines, installation, inspection, maintenance and crew transfer, among other jobs.