Obama Administration Moves Forward on Wind Farms

February 3, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Giant wind turbines near Palm Springs, Calif.
Giant wind turbines near Palm Springs, Calif. The government announced Thursday it was moving ahead with offshore energy projects off the Atlantic coast. (David McNew/Getty Images)

The Obama administration announced Thursday it had moved a step closer to increasing development and production of offshore wind projects off the nation’s Atlantic coast.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau announced that efforts to expand wind powered energy production have cleared an environmental review, which will enable lease sales for the wind power projects to begin off the Atlantic coastal states of Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware.

“When it comes to powering our nation’s homes, businesses, and economy, we need to take an all-of-the-above approach to safely and responsibly developing our domestic energy resources,” Secretary Salazar said, at a Thursday press conference. “Offshore wind holds incredible potential for our country, and we’re moving full steam ahead to accelerate the siting, leasing, and construction of new projects.”

Not only did an environmental review clear the path for wind projects, today the bureau announced a first-of-its-kind lease that would streamline the application process.

“We are moving toward commercial-scale offshore wind energy leasing in the mid-Atlantic and adding the necessary tools to offer those leases,” said Director Beaudreau. “We considered public input and conducted a thorough analysis to ensure future projects are sited in the right places, where the wind energy potential is significant and where environmental effects and conflicts with other uses can be minimized and managed.”

Today, Sen Tom Carper of Delaware welcomed the announcement. “I continue to be a strong advocate and supporter of offshore wind energy projects off the coast of Delaware, and across the country, and this announcement is an important step to making offshore wind a reality in this country,” said Sen. Carper. “Creating energy from wind off our coasts just makes sense.”

The announcement is the second of its kind following the long debated Cape Wind project, proposed off the coast of Nantucket, that was finally given approval in 2011 after years of debate at all levels of government.