WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving to sharply increase offshore wind energy along the East Coast, saying Monday it is taking initial steps toward approving a huge wind farm off the New Jersey coast as part of an effort to generate electricity for more than 10 million homes nationwide by 2030.

Meeting the target could create jobs for more than 44,000 workers and employ nearly 33,000 others related to offshore wind activity, the White House said Monday. The effort also would help avoid 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, a key step in the administration’s fight to slow global warming.

President Biden “believes we have an enormous opportunity in front of us to not only address the threats of climate change, but use it as a chance to create millions of good-paying, union jobs that will fuel America’s economic recovery,” said White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy. “Nowhere is the scale of that opportunity clearer than for offshore wind.”

The administration’s commitment to the still untapped industry “will create pathways to the middle class for people from all backgrounds and communities,” she added.

The administration said it intends to prepare a formal environmental analysis for the Ocean Wind project off New Jersey. That would move Ocean Wind toward becoming the third commercial-scale offshore wind project in the U.S.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it is targeting offshore wind projects in shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast. A recent study shows the area can support up to 25,000 development and construction jobs by 2030, Interior said.

The ocean energy bureau said it will push to sell commercial leases in the area in late 2021 or early 2022.

The administration also pledged to invest $230 million to upgrade U.S. ports and provide up to $3 billion in loan guarantees for offshore wind projects through the Energy Department’s recently revived clean-energy loan program.

“It is going to be a full-force gale of good-paying, union jobs that lift people up,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

Ocean Wind, 15 miles off the coast of southern New Jersey, is projected to produce about 1,100 megawatts a year, enough to power 500,000 homes, once it becomes operational in 2024.

The Interior Department has previously announced environmental reviews for Vineyard Wind in Massachusetts and South Fork wind farm about 35 miles east of Montauk Point in Long Island, N.Y. Vineyard Wind is expected to produce about 800 megawatts of power and South Fork about 132 megawatts.

Monday’s announcement focused on conventional offshore wind turbines, which have been deployed for decades in Europe on towers set into the seabed along shallow coastal waters. But to reach the Biden administration’s goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030, developers will need to add a mix of floating technology in deeper water, according to New England Aqua Ventus, the partnership working with the University of Maine on a proprietary floating platform.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Maine to be a first mover in North America to successfully develop and deploy grid-scale floating turbine technology,” the company said in a statement.

Plans by New England Aqua Ventus to anchor a single floating turbine in state-controlled waters off Monhegan Island have come under fire by fishing interests. So have plans by Gov. Janet Mills to site a floating research wind farm in federal waters farther off the Maine coast.

That’s why Maine’s goals around floating offshore wind are important, the company said, because most of the Gulf of Maine is in federally controlled waters.

“Maine can either strategically develop its own approach to deploying offshore wind in a way that reflects the priorities and interests of Maine people,” the company said, “or it can let the federal government and neighboring states dictate it.”

Biden has vowed to double offshore wind production by 2030 as part of his effort to slow climate change. The likely approval of the Atlantic Coast projects – the leading edge of at least 16 offshore wind projects along the East Coast – marks a sharp turnaround from the Trump administration, which stymied wind power both onshore and in the ocean.

As president, Donald Trump frequently derided wind power as an expensive, bird-slaughtering way to make electricity, and his administration resisted or opposed wind projects nationwide, including Vineyard Wind. The developer of the Massachusetts project temporarily withdrew its application late last year in a bid to stave off possible rejection by the Trump administration. Biden provided a fresh opening for the project after taking office in January.

“For generations, we’ve put off the transition to clean energy and now we’re facing a climate crisis,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, whose department oversees offshore wind.

“As our country faces the interlocking challenges of a global pandemic, economic downturn, racial injustice and the climate crisis, we have to transition to a brighter future for everyone,” Haaland said.

Vineyard Wind is slated to become operational in 2023, with Ocean Wind following a year later.

Despite the enthusiasm, offshore wind development is still in its infancy in the U.S., far behind progress made in Europe. A small wind farm operates near Block Island in waters controlled by the state of Rhode Island, and another small wind farm operates off the coast of Virginia.

The three major projects under development are all owned by European companies or subsidiaries. Vineyard Wind is a joint project of a Danish company and a U.S. subsidiary of the Spanish energy giant, Iberdrola. Ocean Wind and South Fork are led by the Danish company, Orsted.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday it is signing an agreement with Orsted to share data about U.S. waters where the company holds leases. The data should aid NOAA’s ocean-mapping efforts and help it advance climate adaptation and mitigation efforts, the agency said. NOAA also will spend $1 million to study the impacts of offshore wind operations on fishing operators and coastal communities.

Wind developers are poised to create tens of thousands of jobs and generate more than $100 billion in new investment by 2030, “but the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management must first open the door to new leasing,″ said Erik Milito, president of the National Ocean Industries Association.

Not everyone is cheering the rise of offshore wind. Fishing groups from Maine to Florida have expressed fear that large offshore wind projects could render huge swaths of the ocean off-limits to their catch.

Staff Writer Tux Turkel contributed to this story.

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