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Offshore wind developer Ørsted raised the first complete 11-megawatt turbine of its South Fork Wind project off Long Island’s east end, to the dismay of Montauk, N.Y., fishermen who for years battled developers and New York State energy planners.  

Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, has spent two decades presenting fishermen’s concerns about the threats they see from offshore wind development and associated seafloor cables. 

"If a trawler comes upon one of those cables, they could literally snag on their gear and it could flip the boat, so people's lives could be at risk, it's not just something in the distance that you don't have to worry about," Brady told Long Island News12.

For offshore wind power advocates, the first photos Monday from Ørsted were heartening news for an industry badly battered by escalating costs. Facing sharp runups for equipment and financing, developers have seen their costs escalate by as much as 40 percent according to some industry analysts. Those factors may even force abandonment of some projects, like Ørsted’s Oct. 31 decision to cancel its 1,100 MW Ocean Wind 1 project off New Jersey.

As New York’s first offshore turbine went up, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued its record of decision approving the construction and operations plan for Empire Wind 1 – one of the earliest U.S. proposals, on a BOEM lease between shipping lanes into New York Harbor.

Molly Morris, the president of Equinor Renewables Americas, welcomed the news for her company’s partnership with bp.

“The federal Record of Decision is a significant milestone in advancing Equinor and bp’s Empire Wind project to help deliver on state and federal climate ambitions,” Morris said in a prepared statement. “Empire Wind is a defining project for New York and we continue our work to connect with communities and realize the project’s potential of providing reliable renewable power, creating jobs and spurring economic development.”

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Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for more than 30 years and a 25-year field editor for National Fisherman before joining our Commercial Marine editorial staff in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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