USA Today reports:
To help launch the U.S. offshore wind industry, the Obama administration announced funding Wednesday for seven projects and environmental groups said they've agreed with developers on how to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales.
The Department of Energy said the funding, up to $168 million over six years, will expedite the development of the nations' first offshore wind farms. None are operational yet, but nine have reached the advanced development phase and 24 more are in earlier stages.
"The United States has tremendous untapped clean energy sources," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in the announcement. He noted the department's projection that offshore wind offers more than 4,000 gigawatts of electricity potential -- four times the nation's current total generation. Last year, land-based wind power accounted for a third of new electrical capacity, and 70% of its equipment was made in the United States.