The U.S. government will sell leases off the Atlantic Coast for wind farm development for the first time. The leases are located off the coast of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Virginia and total an area of 277,550 acres.
The lease sale will take place in 2013 and follow a November 28th sale of federal offshore oil and gas leases in the Western Gulf of Mexico. In a Department of Interior release, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said the wind farm leases in the Atlantic are part of the Obama administration's strategy to expand domestic energy production.
"Wind energy along the Atlantic holds enormous potential, and today we are moving closer to tapping into this massive domestic energy resource to create jobs, increase our energy security and strengthen our nation’s competitiveness in this new energy frontier," said Salazar. "...As we experience record domestic oil and gas development, we are moving forward at the same time with efforts to ensure that America continues to lead the world at developing the energy of the future."
The areas proposed for leasing could generate 4,000 megawatts from wind projects. The DOI noted this would be enough to power 1.4 million homes. The areas available for offshore wind farms are located between 9 miles and 23.5 miles off the coast of the northeast states.