WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Energy Department said it expected commercial operations for offshore wind power generation to begin near six states in less than five years.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said offshore wind engineering, design and deployment projects were awarded in Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Virginia. The projects are scheduled for commercial operation by 2017.
"The United States has tremendous untapped clean energy resources and it is important for us to develop technologies that will allow us to utilize those resources in ways that are economically viable," Chu said in a statement.
The Energy Department said offshore wind has the potential to produce as much as 4,000 gigawatts of renewable electricity, four times what the country produces now.
In April, U.S. regulators approved the construction plan for the Cape Wind energy project off the coast of Massachusetts. The project calls for 130 wind turbines capable of generating about 3.6 megawatts of energy each. It should be completed by 2014.
Onshore wind power in the United States accounted for 32 percent of new additions to grid capacity last year.