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New Jersey utility buys 25% of wind farm off Atlantic City

New Jersey's largest utility bought a 25% stake in an offshore wind farm Friday to be built off the coast of Atlantic City in a move to bring local knowledge to an energy project that would power half a million homes.

Newark-based Public Service Enterprise Group agreed to buy 25% of the 1,100-megawatt Ocean Wind project from Orsted North America.

The purchase price was not announced. Orsted would not divulge it, and PSEG did not immediately responded to a request for details.

“As New Jersey’s first offshore wind project, Ocean Wind will lead the way for a productive first step into this forward-leaning industry, bringing with it new skills, jobs and carbon-free energy," Ralph Izzo, PSEG's president and CEO, said in a statement. “This investment in offshore wind energy is well-aligned with our company’s long-term clean energy strategy.”

The move made sense for both companies, said David Hardy, CEO of a North American arm of the Danish company.

“Our two organizations have unmatched expertise and experience constructing complex energy projects,” he said. “We’re excited to partner with PSEG due to their extensive knowledge of the market and previous track record, and we’re looking forward to providing enough clean energy for 500,000 New Jersey homes.”

Ocean Wind was selected by New Jersey to be its first offshore wind farm as part of the state's plan to add 7,500 megawatts offshore wind generating capacity by 2035. The state hopes to use only clean energy by 2050.

PSEG has stated its intention to move toward a zero-carbon generation platform, and says it is evaluating additional offshore wind projects in New Jersey and elsewhere in the mid-Atlantic region.

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said the deal could spur additional wind energy projects in the region.

“PSEG, by going into business with Orsted, has shown that offshore wind is the future," he said. “This is a major shift in how New Jersey’s largest utility will be getting its electricity going forward. Offshore wind is the most reliable and cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse and move forward on renewable energy.”

New Jersey last month formally committed itself to using offshore wind energy to eventually power 3.2 million homes and will study the best ways to get that electricity from ocean turbines to communities where it is needed. It entered into an agreement with PJM Interconnection, a regional grid operator, to study the best ways to bring the power to shore and distribute it.

Follow Wayne Parry at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC