In this Aug. 15, 2016 file photo, three of Deepwater Wind's five turbines stand in the water off Block Island, R.I. Credit: Michael Dwyer / AP

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The federal government’s largest auction of offshore wind energy sites showed no signs of slowing Friday as bidding entered its third day and offers passed $4 billion.

The auction by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management involved six tracts of ocean floor off New York and New Jersey in an area known as the New York Bight.

As of late morning, $4.1 billion worth of bids had been submitted.

When fully developed, these sites could provide enough energy to power 2 million homes, the agency said.

More than $1.5 billion worth of bids were received Wednesday, the first day of the auction. Bidding reached $3.2 billion at the end of Thursday, the second day.

The auction for nearly 500,000 acres (about 202,342 hectares), when combined with past auctions, will span nearly 1 million acres. It was the largest such auction in the nation’s history, the ocean energy bureau said.

President Joe Biden has set a goal to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, generating enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes.

The administration has approved the nation’s first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects in federal waters: the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind project off the Massachusetts coast and the 130-megawatt South Fork wind farm near New York’s Long Island.

Not everyone is delighted with the scope and speed of offshore wind development. Homeowners groups in several spots in New Jersey are opposing the projects on environmental, economic and aesthetic grounds.

And even some environmental groups are displeased. New Jersey’s Clean Ocean Action called the auction “too much, too fast.”

Five of the six tracts are located off the central or southern coasts of New Jersey. The largest, at over 114,000 acres (about 46,134 hectares), is located off the coast of Long Beach Island, and could generate enough electricity to power nearly half a million homes, according to the ocean energy bureau.

That one tract alone had received over $1 billion worth of bids by Friday morning.

The bureau said it will make public the identities of the successful bidders once the auction is concluded.

Story by Wayne Parry