PRINCETON — Danish power company Orsted, the world leader in offshore wind farm development, will open an office in Atlantic City in May at the Bella Condominiums and start hiring staff soon, its president said Tuesday at the fifth annual International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum.
Gov. Phil Murphy, who spoke at the forum, said he was pleased with the announcement, but “the opening of an office is just a beginning.”
He’s more excited about what will come as the state develops both the ability to generate wind power and to manufacture windmill components.
Murphy said the project will create more than 1,000 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs upon completion.
Orsted’s Ocean Wind project, planned for about 10 miles off Atlantic City, could generate up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 1.5 million homes, said company President Thomas Brostrom.
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.
Orsted spokeswoman Lauren Burm said the company will start with two full-time staff in Atlantic City and soon hire community relations staff to help keep the wind farm project on track. Later in the process, it will hire construction and project managers, she said.
The company recently announced it has an agreement with German steel manufacturer EEW to open a manufacturing facility in Massachusetts to provide materials for the wind farm it is building there.
“You could see something similar in New Jersey,” Burm said.
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The state has the opportunity to foster an entirely new industry, Murphy said. He 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.
The state now gets about 2 percent of its energy from renewables, according to Board of Public Utilities President Joe Fiordaliso.
“We don’t want fossil-fuel drilling,” Murphy said, referring to President Donald Trump’s administration’s intention to open the Atlantic Ocean to gas and oil drilling. “What we do want is wind turbines.”
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The state is ideal for the offshore wind energy industry — both power generation and manufacturing of windmills — because of its coastal winds and its location in the middle of the East Coast metropolis, he said. New Jersey has easy access to global markets through a large highway system and easy access to ports.
The conference is being held at the Westin Forrestal in Princeton through Thursday. It is organized by the nonprofit Business Network for Offshore Wind. About 800 people registered, said Liz Burdock, executive director of the network.
Murphy welcomed hundreds of representatives of energy companies, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and governments from around the world to New Jersey and suggested future meetings be held at the shore where everyone can feel the coastal winds.
“I believe by working closely with you we can continue to drive down the cost of electric generation,” he said.