The U.S. Department of Energy says it intends to spend $50 million to speed the development of offshore wind farms, with a goal of issuing leases off four Atlantic Coast states by the end of the year.
The Interior Department says sites along the coasts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey have been identified for potential wind farms in an effort to help meet President Barack Obama's goal of generating 80 percent of the nation's electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.
Those states will receive expedited environmental reviews to help fast-track the projects. Each of the four sites are off major tourist destinations, including Atlantic City, N.J., Ocean City, Md., and Virginia Beach, Va.
However, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the wind farms would be between 10 to 20 miles offshore -- far enough that beachgoing vacationers would not have their views ruined.
Moreover, states would receive 27 percent of total revenues collected by the federal government for projects in federal waters, at least 3 miles offshore.