New York and New Jersey are joining forces in an attempt to turn the region into a hub for wind power along its coast.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced Wednesday that about half-million acres in an offshore area known as the Bight, which stretches from Montauk Point in Long Island, NY to Cape May, NJ, will be up for auction by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for wind power development next month in what officials are calling the largest auction of its kind in the United States. It’s also the first under the Biden-Harris administration, which has set a target to deploy 30 gigawatts of wind power by 2030 in the hopes of reducing reliance on fossil-fuels and creating 80,000 jobs for American workers.

“This law it's historic and it's a monumental investment in our nation's efforts to protect our lands and waters that belong to every single American,” said Haaland. “In order to keep our planet livable for future generations, we must get to a net zero economy and make robust investments in sustainable economies, clean energy and climate reasons.”

On Feb. 23, developers will have the opportunity to bid on six lease areas that promise 5.6 to 7 gigawatts of wind energy – potentially providing power for about 2 million homes. Leases will come with stipulations such as engaging local disadvantaged communities; making every effort to hire union workers and buying American products through a local supply chain being developed in the region.

The potential industries include everything from manufacturing the specialized parts via local ports in Albany and South Jersey, to job training provided by New York State through its Offshore Wind Training Institute on Long Island. Over the next decade, officials estimate this will provide a $109 billion opportunity for American-based supply chain businesses — and a $500 million investment in New York’s wind supply chain.

“It's a big part of our efforts to create a cleaner and more equitable energy with these new lease areas,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said. “Not just in terms of clean energy, but as a domestic supply chain for offshore wind generation and manufacturing, which is a game changer in and of itself.”

The original proposal was for nearly 2 million acres, but was reduced by more than 70% to just under half-million acres to “avoid conflicts” with local tribes, the public and ocean users such as commercial fishermen. The federal government is currently reviewing nine more projects across the country, and expects to hold up to six more offshore lease auctions by 2025.

Both states have among the most ambitious wind power goals in the nation. By 2035, New York plans to have 9 gigawatts of wind power while New Jersey's goal is 7.5 gigawatts. New York has the largest offshore wind portfolio in the nation with five planned projects totaling 4.3 gigawatts. The Bight project would help the region meet these goals.

“I'm so proud that we're already halfway there and this is going to help us get over the finish line and certainly head into a better future,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “With all deference to Bob Dylan, the answer my friend is blowing in the wind.”