Centrica has been granted one of nine licenses as part of the UK's latest round of offshore windfarm investment.
Centrica Renewable Energy and RES Group plan to create a windfarm capable of generating 4.2GW on seabed owned by the Crown Estate.
The nine zones across the country could generate 32GW from 6,400 turbines, enough energy to supply nearly all the homes in the UK.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: "Our island has one of the best wind energy resources in Europe and today's news shows that there's a huge appetite for capacity to be built here. We now need to make sure we're poised to harness the potential that appetite brings for business for UK companies and new green jobs. We did it before with oil and gas in the North Sea and we'll do it again for offshore wind."
Among the other areas covered by the latest wave of licenses are the Isle of Wight, Bristol coast and Firth.
Neil Bentley, CBI director of business environment, said: "This is as exciting step forward for the UK energy's industry comparable with the exploration of the North Sea for oil and gas in 1970s.
"Wind power will play an important role in helping the UK to cut carbon emissions and secure supply, but it needs to be part of a diverse and balanced energy mix that includes nuclear, gas, clean coal and other renewable sources.
"Although the development of the UK's offshore wind market could potentially create huge opportunities, there are a number of supply chain challenges. These include the shortage of skilled engineers, ramping up turbine manufacturing capacity to meet demand, and getting the turbines connected to the grid."