OCEAN CITY — The developers of a wind energy farm off the southern New Jersey coast said Monday they have hired two companies to connect the project to the electrical grid on land.

Ocean Wind 1 has signed contracts with companies that will build electrical substations on land and run power lines from the offshore wind farm to the onshore connection points.

Ocean Wind 1, a joint venture between Orsted, the Danish wind power company and Newark-based PSEG, hired JINGOLI Power, LLC and Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc.

The moves come as New Jersey is working aggressively to become the East Coast hub of the fast-growing offshore wind energy industry.

In February, six companies bid a combined $4.37 billion for the right to build wind energy projects on the ocean floor off New Jersey and New York in the U.S. government’s largest such auction in history.

Offshore Wind Energy Connections
A land-based wind turbine that provides electricity to a sewage treatment plant in Atlantic City NJ. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
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Before that happened, New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities approved three offshore wind energy projects: two by Orsted, and one by Atlantic Shores. Those three projects combined aim to provide enough electricity to power over 1.6 million homes.

The Ocean Wind 1 project is among those three and could provide enough power for 500,000 homes.

Contracts awarded for it include the installation of two high-voltage substations and nearly 9 miles of underground cable that will connect the offshore wind farm to the onshore electric grid.

“The awarding of these construction contracts marks significant milestones in moving the state’s first offshore wind project forward,” said Grant van Wyngaarden, head of procurement for Orsted North America.

“Offshore wind is critical to helping New Jersey achieve its clean energy ambitions and these agreements mark a significant step in the process,” added Lathrop Craig, PSEG's vice president of wind development.

JINGOLI Power, based in Lawrenceville, will install an underground electric cable from the landfall point in Ocean City to the former B.L. England power plant in Upper Township, where it will connect to the grid.

Bringing the line ashore in Ocean City would involve using a small amount of publicly preserved open space that would be replaced nearby. The state Department of Environmental Protection, which would decide whether to approve the land switch, did not immediately respond to a request Monday for an update on the application's status.

Joseph R. Jingoli, Jr., the company's CEO, is one of the local co-owners of Atlantic City's Hard Rock casino.

Kansas City-based Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc., will install a substation in Upper Township that includes a connection to a nearby Atlantic City Electric substation.

The company will also install a substation at the former Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in the Forked River section of Lacey Township with a connection to a nearby First Energy substation, and install an underground cable from the landfall point to the onshore electric substation.

Ocean Wind's developers did not specify where the landfall point for that line would be, but in previous government hearings, officials said it would be either near the former power plant in Lacey, or at one of two spots in neighboring Ocean Township, known locally as Waretown. A request for comment Monday was not immediately returned.

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: