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Five areas chosen for offshore wind projects

The American wind energy industry is still awaiting final rules and regulations for offshore wind energy development. But the federal agency drafting those rules has taken another step towards allowing offshore wind by approving five areas of US waters as priority areas for renewable energy research. The Minerals Management Service (MMS) is proposing limited, temporary leases off New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia, Florida and California. Data collection and technology testing related to wind, wave and ocean current energy development is allowed, but MMS has not gone so far as to allow commercial energy production associated with the proposed leases. The agency is seeking to gauge commercial interest in developing offshore energy resources by allowing data monitoring by companies. The agency received over 40 nominations for renewable energy research projects in response to a November opening for research leases. Ten of the proposed projects are related to wind energy in the areas off New Jersey, Delaware and Georgia. Prior to leases being issued or consideration of specific project proposals, the agency must first determine if competitive interests exist for research in the five areas. MMS must also evaluate other information related to those areas such as environmental factors and current commercial activities such as fishing and shipping.

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