In Great Lakes states, Obama administration strikes agreement for offshore wind

Washington, D.C., March 30, 2012 — The Obama administration joined with the governors of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania to sign a memorandum of understanding that will streamline the efficient and responsible development of offshore wind resources in the Great Lakes.

The MOU will enhance collaboration between federal and state agencies to speed review of proposed offshore wind projects. Specifically, federal and state agencies will develop an action plan that sets priorities and recommends steps for achieving efficient and responsible evaluation of proposed offshore wind power projects in the Great Lakes region.

Unlocking the Great Lakes' offshore wind energy resources could yield tremendous economic and environmental benefits throughout the region, and has the potential to produce more than 700 GW of energy from offshore wind, about one fifth of the total offshore wind potential in the U.S.

The development of even a small portion of the area's offshore wind potential could create tens of thousands of clean energy jobs and generate revenue for local businesses. These efforts are in line with the steps the administration has taken to increase domestic energy production, including increased production of our nation's oil and natural gas resources — with domestic oil production higher than any time in the last eight years and natural gas at an all-time high.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that each gigawatt of offshore wind installed could produce enough electricity to power 300,000 homes. The efforts made possible by the agreement will also bolster existing investments in offshore wind technologies by promoting a consistent and predictable regulatory environment that inspires innovation and helps to bring clean energy solutions to market.

To safely and responsibly develop offshore wind resources, federal and state agencies — which share jurisdiction in the Great Lakes — must fully evaluate the potential social, environmental, safety and security impacts of projects. The agreement signed today will enhance collaboration between federal and state agencies to speed review of proposed offshore wind projects and accelerate the development of clean, American energy from offshore wind energy resources in the Great Lakes region.

Under the MOU, federal and state agencies will develop an action plan that sets priorities and recommends steps for achieving efficient and responsible evaluation of proposed offshore wind power projects in the Great Lakes region.

The following participants have signed the MOU:

State of Illinois, State of Michigan, State of Minnesota, State of New York, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, White House Council on Environmental Quality, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of the Army, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal Aviation Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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