Virginia's coast is just one area targetted by a collaboration between the Department of Energy's wind program and the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Virginia is beginning a geological survey of a patch of the Atlantic Ocean that could become an offshore wind farm supplying energy for half a million homes.
This is part of a chain reaction of events designed to accelerate the development of offshore wind. The State of Virginia and the Department of the Interior are funding a geological survey of 24 square miles of ocean floor near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to figure out what engineers need to know in order to install offshore turbines.
Offshore turbines are generally more of a technical challenge than land based turbines.
After the ocean floor is surveyed, Dominion Virginia Power will build two experimental six megawatt wind turbines about 22 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The utility won a $4 million grant from the Department of Energy, and may get nearly $50 million more from the federal government as the project moves forward.
The plan is to test out breakthrough technologies around the country that will bring down the cost of offshore wind energy.