The state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) will launch a tender for 1.1GW, the governor’s office announced — though a date for this has not yet been set.
A solicitation could only take place after a process has been created for the state agency to approve developers’ initial plans, the governor’s office conceded.
New Jersey will also engage with neighbouring states — including New York, which this week published a roadmap for 2.4GW of offshore wind — to "explore the potential benefits of regional collaboration on offshore wind".
The Garden State had passed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act in 2010, encouraging the creation of a certification program for the sector.
But since then "little progress" has been made on offshore wind development in New Jersey, Murphy said.
"We cannot allow for stagnation in this growing sector of our energy economy and we cannot lose sight of the tremendous opportunity for offshore wind at the Jersey Shore," he added.
"With this executive order, we begin the process of making New Jersey a leader in offshore wind, a critical step toward achieving our clean energy goals."
OWEDA authorised the New Jersey BPU to craft an Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credit program (OREC).
But regulatory gaps remain, and developers have been unable to obtain the necessary approvals from the BPU for projects to progress, Murphy said.
Under the new executive order, the BPU will approve developers’ financial plans, launch a 1.1GW solicitation, and look at potential collaboration with neighbouring states on offshore wind.
"Our goal is to grow offshore wind in a way that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on fossil fuels.
"New Jersey is committed to growing our clean energy sector, and offshore wind is at the crux of increasing that part of our economy," Murphy added.
Offshore developers have been quick to welcome New Jersey’s announcement.
Ørsted CEO Henrik Poulsen said it was a "strong indication of offshore wind's growing momentum in the US".
Late last year, the developer contracted surveyors Fugro to investigate two sites with potential wind power capacities of up-to 1GW — one off the coast of Massachusetts, the other off the coast of New Jersey. The investigations are due to last until the end of February.
Meanwhile, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski, said by signing the executive order for 3.5GW Murphy was "putting New Jersey’s clean energy goals back on track in a major way".
Grybowski added: "He understands just how important offshore wind will be for New Jersey’s environment, energy system and job growth. We’re ready to get to work to finally make this bold vision a reality for New Jersey."
Deepwater Wind operates the US’ only offshore wind farm, the five-turbine 30MW Block Island project off the coast of Rhode Island.
It is also actively planning other offshore wind farms, to serve markets in New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey, the developer stated.