WASHINGTON, March 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. government announced $180 million may be available in a six-year initiative aimed at developing the offshore wind energy sector.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said an initial $20 million was committed this year as part of a six-year strategy to support offshore wind energy installations.
"These investments are critical to ensuring that America remains competitive in this growing global industry that can drive new manufacturing, construction, installation and operation jobs across the country," Chu said.
There is an estimated 4,000 gigawatts of potential energy available through offshore wind in the United States. Chu said the initiative would accelerate the development of "breakthrough wind power technologies" needed to diversify the U.S. energy sector.
"The new offshore wind energy initiative announced today will help to catalyze the development of offshore wind in America, supporting U.S. innovators as they seek to design and demonstrate next generation wind energy technologies," he said.
There are no commercial-scale offshore wind farms in the United States. The funds announced by Chu are subject to congressional appropriations, the Energy Department said.
U.S. President Barack Obama in his 2011 State of the Union address laid out a clean-energy target of meeting 80 percent of U.S. energy needs with clean sources by 2035.