ATLANTIC CITY — Workers were installing new signage on windows and awnings at the New Jersey headquarters of offshore wind energy giant Orsted on Thursday morning, as company representative Nicole Brogan-Dumas supervised.
Inside, IT expert Søren Danekilde Christiansen, recently arrived from Denmark, was hooking up computers. He planned to take a short walk after work to the northern tip of the island, to check out the fishing.
The Danish firm is renting a large, light-filled space facing Pacific Avenue on the ground floor of the Bella Condominiums.
It has already hired its first employee for the location, a local resident who will be introduced at the office’s ribbon cutting May 17, Orsted spokeswoman Lauren Burm said.
Real estate agent Nate Chait, who works in the Weichert office next door, came out to welcome the company to town.
“I have been to Denmark. I have seen the wind farms there. They are very prevalent,” said Chait, who helped show Brogan-Dumas and others from Orsted properties around town.
From the Atlantic City office, staff will oversee development of the company’s Ocean Wind project, planned for about 10 miles off Atlantic City, Burm said.
“As the project progresses, the permitting team will be there,” she said. And eventually, members of the public will be invited to come in to learn more about the project.
Ocean Wind could generate as many as 3,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 1.5 million homes, company President Thomas Brostrom has said.
“We wanted to have a presence there,” Burm said of the decision to open the office now, even though all of the details haven’t been worked out that will allow the company to start construction.
Orsted is still doing exploratory work on its ocean site, which it is leasing from the federal government. And it is still waiting for the state Board of Public Utilities to develop an Offshore Wind Strategic Plan and a program for selling offshore wind renewable energy credits, and solicit for projects to generate 1,100 megawatts of electric power.
That would give the company a funding stream, as electric distribution companies would collect funds from ratepayers and direct them to offshore wind developers, according to BPU.
On Tuesday, the BPU is scheduled to hold a public hearing on a proposal for OREC funding of wind power at 1 p.m. in the first floor Merity System Room at the BPU office, 44 S. Clinton Ave., Trenton.
Gov. Phil Murphy said at an international offshore wind conference in Princeton last month that the project will create more than 1,000 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs upon completion.
Murphy has committed New Jersey to generating 3,500 megawatts of electricity through offshore wind by 2030 and to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.
Orsted has built and operates more than 20 wind farms throughout Europe. It holds leases for developing wind farms off Atlantic City, Massachusetts and Virginia.