Government seeks offshore wind, ocean power projects
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Interior Department on Thursday designated areas in federal waters off five states as locations for developing alternative energy sources.
The areas are off the shores of California, New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia and Florida and could be home to wind and ocean power projects.
"This is a major step forward in expanding our nation's energy portfolio," said Randall Luthi, director of the department's Minerals Management Service that oversees offshore energy development.
The department is proposing temporary leases in the areas to collect data and test technology related to alternative energy development. There would be no commercial energy production from the proposed leases.
"The information gained from research in these areas will greatly increase our understanding of the vast renewable energy potential just off our coast," he said.
The department said it received proposals for 40 energy research projects when it sought public comment last November on allowing energy development in offshore federal waters.
About 16 of those projects could go forward, the department said.
Ten of the projects are related to wind energy and would be located in waters off New Jersey, Delaware and Georgia.
Four other proposals are related to using ocean currents to generate electricity off Florida and two projects off Northern California would involve wave energy.
The department said it would issue final regulations that cover offshore alternative energy projects by the end of the year.
(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Christian Wiessner)