LONG BEACH - The federal government announced Thursday a plan to open bidding for the rights to develop a wind farm in the water 11 miles south of Long Beach.

The project would cover around 81,000 acres with clean, renewable energy sources, officials say.

The Department of the Interior says at least seven companies have expressed interest in leasing the space to do the project.

Green energy advocates are praising the idea.

"It's home-grown energy that keeps our energy dollars here instead of sending it overseas," says Adrienne Espinoza, of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

But Phil Healey, with the Biltmore Shores Civic Association, disagrees. He says he fears the cost of building and maintaining the windfarm will trickle down to residents and taxpayers.

Healey says that while he supports green energy, he opposes what he calls the "industrialization" of the ocean.

Long Islanders will have the opportunity to weigh in on this issue at a public meeting on June 21 in Hempstead or June 22 in Westhampton Beach.