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U.S. streamlines offshore wind energy

May 16, 2011 at 9:12 AM

WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Energy Department announced it was teaming with federal regulators to make it easier to install wind farms on the outer continental shelf.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich announced regulators were making it easier to get a lease to develop commercial renewable energy projects off the U.S. coast.

"This streamlined approach could cut up to a year off the leasing process for some commercial wind energy projects in the Atlantic," Salazar said in a statement. "It would increase regulatory efficiency without affecting our ability to rigorously review, analyze and monitor projects to assure they are carried out in a safe and environmentally responsible manner."

Under the plan, the BOEMRE would eliminate the need for a company to go through a second process for a lease even it's the only company expressing interest. The Interior Department said that could save up to a year in the leasing process.

The BOEMRE in April approved the construction of a 130-turbine wind farm off Nantucket Island on the eastern seaboard, the first offshore wind farm in the United States approved by federal regulators.

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