Three ocean areas totaling 390,000 acres will be offered up by the federal government Thursday during an auction intended to attract the offshore wind industry to tracts south of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

The auction, which the Department of Interior initially announced in October, is set to open at 9 a.m., the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said. Department officials previously indicated that 19 companies have qualified to participate in the Massachusetts auction.

In October, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the Massachusetts acreage up for auction, if fully developed, could support about 4.1 gigawatts of power to supply nearly 1.5 million homes. "This is just one example of the importance of fostering wind energy as a new American industry," he said at the time.

According to the federal government, the lease areas being auctioned are 20 nautical miles from Martha's Vineyard, 16.7 nautical miles from Nantucket, and 44.5 nautical miles from Block Island.

Massachusetts has embarked on a process designed to eventually erect the state's first commercial scale wind energy installation off Martha's Vineyard.