U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and the governors of 10 East Coast states have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that establishes an Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium to promote the responsible development of wind resources on the Outer Continental Shelf, according to the Department of Interior.
The ten states are Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.
The agreement was announced at Capitol Hill Oceans Week 2010, where Salazar also announced the creation of a new regional renewable energy office, based in Virginia, to coordinate and expedite the development of wind, solar and other renewable energy resources off the Atlantic coast.
The Capitol Hill event included panel discussions on the impact of energy use and development for ocean and coast resources, reports Discovery News.
The MOU calls for an action plan to help guide state and federal coordination for proposed offshore commercial wind projects, reports The Washington Post.
Several wind energy projects have been proposed for East Coast states, positioning the region to tap into the potential of wind power in the U.S. Developing this resource could create thousands of jobs and displace older fossil-fueled generating plants, significantly cutting greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Department of the Interior.
Salazar said wind can generate as much as 20 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030 and create a quarter-million jobs.
In April, Salazar approved the Cape Wind offshore wind energy project in Massachusetts. This project is the first wind farm on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, which is expected to generate enough power to meet 75 percent of the electricity demand for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island.
The 468-megawatt offshore wind project also is expected to reduce wholesale electric prices for the New England region by $4.6 billion over 25 years by reducing the operations of fossil fuel, according to a Cape Wind study.