While plans for offshore drilling are on ice, governors of ten states and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have signed an agreement to create an Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium.

DOI_SealWhile plans for offshore drilling are on ice, Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed an agreement with governors of nine states and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to create an Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium.

The group intends to promote the development of wind resources on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf — a first step toward broader coordination among the Atlantic states and federal agencies.

Salazar also announced yesterday a new Virginia-based regional renewable energy office to coordinate and speed up the development of renewable energy resources on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf, including wind and solar.

“It’s imperative that we develop all of our domestic energy sources including wind, solar, biomass, nuclear, coal, oil and natural gas,” McDonnell said in a statement. “Our deepwater port, relatively shallow offshore waters, and offshore wind speeds give us the ability to move quickly to harness wind energy and bring it to market.”

While McDonnell includes wind as one of the energy sources he wants to pursue off Virginia’s coast, the administration was pushing hard to drill for oil and natural gas offshore. Virginia was first in line on the East Coast to begin offshore oil exploration, but the Obama administration halted those plans after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The governor has said he wants to see a faster permit process for approval of wind-energy applications and attention to the costs associated. Both are among the consortium’s considerations in its quest to create regional strategies and recommendations to facilitate the development of offshore wind resources.

The group also will review investment and infrastructure, data and science, and the regulatory and permitting process.

Funding for any activities will be subject to funds and staff available, according to the memorandum, but participants will “pursue sufficient resources” to ensure the objectives of the agreement are achieved.

Click here to read the full article.

Source: Southern Governors’ Association
Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior