Virginia is now in the clear to seek a research lease in Atlantic waters to measure winds, waves and wildlife, which will help speed development of offshore wind turbines.
Gov. Bob McDonnell, energy companies and proponents of green energy all welcomed the announcement by the U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Bidding is expected later this year, and already 10 energy companies have expressed an interest in building wind farms in the federally designated leasing area, that encompasses 133 square miles about 30 miles off Virginia Beach.
The data collected by the research platforms positioned in the northern and southern portions of the leasing area are critical to developing wind energy.