The U.S. federal government announced Wednesday that it plans to pump $50 million into expediting the development of offshore wind farms.
With President Barack Obama’s goal of using 80 percent clean energy in the U.S. by 2035 looming on the horizon, the Department of Energy hopes to issue wind farm leases off the coasts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey by the end of 2011.
Those states will be put on a fast-track for approval, the Interior Department said.
The nation’s first wind farm, Massachussetts’ Cape Wind project, was finally given the seal of approval last October after a drawn-out impasse: a review process that ended up taking eight years when environmentalists and local residents argued that a wind farm would hurt wildlife and detract from the scenery.
While the four areas pointed out Monday are all near major tourist hot spots, Interior Secretary Ken Salazaar promised that windmills would be 10 to 20 offshore so as not to interfere with the scenery, AP reports.
The wind project sites in the north Atlantic will be identified in March, while sites in the south Atlantic will be picked out this spring.