Barge off Long Beach explores the best wind-powered cable route

A wind power survey contractor has hoisted a 113-foot barge less than half a mile from Lido Beach and Long Beach to find the best route for an electric cable running through the barrier island to a power plant in Oceanside.

The survey team working with Stamford-based Equinor Wind will be stationed between 1/10 of a mile to a half a mile offshore during the month of March. Contractors are collecting soil samples and surveying for potential cable use to connect the power plant to a proposed wind farm known as the Empire Offshore Wind Project with 1,000-foot turbines 15 to 30 miles south of barrier island in the Atlantic.

Empire Wind was chosen to span 80,000 marine acres south of Long Island and depths of up to 131 feet to power more than 1 million homes in New York and Long Island. Construction could start in 2024 and then start serving residents with wind energy through the state’s electricity grid.

The boat and survey team began January 10 off Lido Beach, where they will remain stationed for about 20 days and then move toward central Long Beach near Riverside and Edwards Boulevard, Equinor and Long Beach officials said.

The survey will examine the sea floor and potential collapse through the Reynolds Channel to the E.F. Barrett Powerplant in Oceanside. The crew will also have boats to survey the Reynolds Canal.

“Offshore work and interim investigation and survey will be out of people’s hair in March,” said Anna Fisiak, director of community engagement at Equinor. “We understand many of our important stakeholders including the seafarers and the huge surfing community and we are making sure the word gets out.”

Survey crews will work 12-hour shifts during the week including weekends from 7am to 7pm. Officials said the survey work would not cause any noise or affect residents of the barrier island.

The wind farm and survey work is approved by state and federal permits and approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Surveying the ships on the barge and surrounding boats will have species-monitoring devices to look for marine life and stop large mammals like whales offshore, Physiak said.

Long Beach officials said they expect crews to look to get through the public lands to reach the narrowest sections of the Reynolds Canal, Island Park and Oceanside. City leaders said they will have to consider obtaining permits to allow cable through city land while seeking a community benefits package for the city.

“It’s a trade-off that the city council will need to make if it is a viable cable running through the city,” city spokesman John McNally told council members on Tuesday. “What is the use of a community to make it worthwhile to city dwellers? We want to make sure that people of Long Beach end up on the right side of things.”

Equinor held a series of public hearings in December on Zoom and plans to hold additional online meetings next month, with in-person meetings potentially taking place in the summer. Officials said they are working with civic associations, fishing groups and surf shops to respond to any questions or concerns.

Offshore wind survey work

  • A 131-foot-tall barge with a leg depth of 175 feet will be located half a mile from Lido Beach and Long Beach during the month of March.
  • The survey will identify the locations of the electrical cables running from the Atlantic Ocean to Oceanside.
  • The cables will connect the 80,000-acre offshore wind power project to supply one million homes on Long Island and surrounding communities.

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