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U.S. offshore areas hold enormous potential for wind energy development near the nation's highest areas of electricity demand: coastal metropolitan centers, says Ken Salazar, secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI), at a summit meeting of 25 X '25 America's Energy Future, a group working to lower U.S. carbon emissions.

Salazar said information from the U.S. Geological Survey-Minerals Management Service report will be a starting point for public comment meetings around the country in the next few weeks, starting in Atlantic City, N.J., and New Orleans.

The DOI, which manages one-fifth of the nation's landmass and 1.7 billion acres of ocean off the U.S. coasts, will have a major role in creating the nation's clean energy future, Salazar said. The DOI's Bureau of Land Management has identified about 20.6 million acres of public land with wind energy potential in the 11 Western states and 29.5 million acres with solar energy potential in the six southwestern states.

There is also significant wind and wave potential in U.S. offshore waters. The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has identified more than 1,000 GW of wind potential off the Atlantic Coast, and more than 900 GW of wind potential off the Pacific Coast.

NREL says that the class 5 wind potential off the coasts of the lower 48 states exceeds the entire U.S. electricity demand. Currently, there are more than 2,000 MW of offshore wind projects proposed in the U.S.

For more information, visit doi.gov.

SOURCE: Department of the Interior

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