A wind power surveying contractor has hoisted a 113-foot long jack-up barge less than a half mile off Lido Beach and Long Beach to look for the best route for an electric cable running through the barrier island to a power plant in Island Park.
The survey team working with Stamford, Connecticut-based Equinor Wind will be stationed between 1/10th of a mile to a half mile off shore through March. Contractors are collecting soil samples and surveying to potentially use the cable to connect the power plant to a proposed wind farm known as Empire Wind with wind turbines, up to nearly 1,000-foot tall, located 15 to 30 miles south of the barrier island in the Atlantic Ocean.
Empire Wind was selected to span across 80,000 nautical acres south of Long Island and depths of 131 feet to potentially power more than 1 million homes in New York and Long Island. Construction could start in 2024 and then begin serving residents with wind electric power through the state's power grid.
The barge and survey team began Jan. 10 off Lido Beach, where it will remain stationed for about 20 days and then move toward the center of Long Beach near Riverside and Edwards boulevards, Equinor and Long Beach city officials said.
The survey will examine the seafloor and potential landfall through Reynolds Channel to the E.F. Barrett power plant in Island Park. Crews will also have boats surveying Reynolds Channel.
"The offshore work, temporary investigation and surveying will be out of people’s hair in March," said Ana Fisyak, Equinor’s community engagement manager. "We understand there are a lot of important stakeholders including mariners and a huge surfing community and we’re making sure to get the word out."
Surveying crews will work in 12-hour shifts during the week and including weekends from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Officials said the work will not cause any noise or affect residents of the barrier island.
The wind farm and surveying work is authorized through state and federal permits and approved by agencies including the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Surveying vessels on the barge and surrounding boats will have species monitors to look for marine life and stop work for large mammals like whales off shore, Fisyak said.
Long Beach city officials said they anticipate crews may run the cable through public land to reach the narrowest sections of Reynolds Channel, Island Park and Oceanside. City leaders said they would have to consider permits to allow the cable across city land while seeking a community benefits package for the city.
"It’s a trade-off the city council will need to make if they’re amenable to a cable running through the city," city spokesman John McNally told council members Tuesday. "What is the community benefit to make it worthwhile for residents of the city? We do want to make sure residents of Long Beach end up on the right side of things."
Equinor held a series of public hearings in December on Zoom and plan to hold additional meetings online next month, with possible in-person meetings in the summer. Officials said they are working with civic associations, fishing groups and surf shops to address any questions and concerns.
Offshore Wind Surveying Work
- A 131-foot long barge with legs reaching 175-feet deep will be stationed up to a half a mile off Lido Beach and Long Beach through March
- Surveying will determine locations for electric cables to run from Atlantic Ocean to Island Park.
- The cables would connect an 80,000-acre offshore wind project powering 1 million homes on Long Island and surrounding communities.