U.S. plans offshore wind lease in 2013

Dec. 3, 2012 at 8:37 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A lease sale for potential wind energy programs off the eastern U.S. coast was lauded by an advocacy group hailing an emerging low-carbon future.

Last week, the U.S. Interior Department announced plans for its first competitive sale for potential wind energy projects off the coasts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Virginia. The leases are for more than 277,000 acres defined as wind-energy areas.

Catherine Bowes, an energy official at National Wildlife Federation, said the areas were part of an emerging low-carbon future in the United States.

"The competitive lease sales announced today cover areas identified by stakeholders as having minimal conflicts and strong wind energy potential," she said in a statement.

The Interior Department said the lease areas would be able to support enough wind energy developments to meet the energy needs of 1.4 million homes.

"Holding competitive lease sales on the wind-rich East Coast is ushering in a new chapter in America's development of renewable energy," added Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes.

Washington cleared the way for an East Coast offshore wind energy transmission line in May. The decision paves the way for a transmission line that could carry 7,000 megawatts of electricity derived from wind energy to the mainland.

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