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Parts of N.Y. and N.J. coast to be designated offshore wind zone

The Biden administration announced a plan on Monday to vastly expand the use of offshore wind power along the East Coast, aiming to tap a potentially huge source of renewable energy that has so far struggled to gain a foothold in the United States.

The plan would designate an area between Long Island and New Jersey as a priority offshore wind zone and sets a goal of installing 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind turbines in coastal waters nationwide by 2030, generating enough clean electricity to power 10 million homes. To help meet that target, the administration said it would accelerate permitting for proposed wind projects off the Atlantic coast, offer $3 billion in federal loan guarantees for offshore wind projects and upgrade the nation’s ports to support wind construction.

The White House said on Monday that the plan would avoid 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

The moves come as President Biden prepares an approximately $3 trillion economic recovery plan that will focus heavily on infrastructure to tackle climate change, an effort he has framed as a jobs initiative. Officials made a similar case on Monday, saying offshore wind deployment would directly create 44,000 new jobs, such as building and installing turbines, and indirectly create another 33,000.

“The president recognizes that a thriving offshore wind industry will drive new jobs and economic opportunity up and down the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico and in Pacific waters,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said during a briefing on Monday.

Republicans said they were skeptical of Mr. Biden’s promise of millions of “green jobs.” They have criticized his earlier moves to suspend new oil and gas leases and revoke permits for the Keystone XL pipeline as responsible for killing well-paying jobs in their states.

Gina McCarthy, the White House national climate adviser, called offshore wind a “new, untapped industry” that “will create pathways to the middle class for people from all backgrounds.”

Last month, the Biden administration took a key step in approving the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm, off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts – a project that had stagnated under the Trump administration. The proposal for 84 large turbines with 800 megawatts of electric generating capacity is slated to come online by 2023.

Vineyard Wind is one of 13 offshore wind projects proposed along the East Coast, and the Interior Department has estimated that as many as 2,000 turbines could be rotating in the Atlantic Ocean by 2030.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting.