Interior secretary to make offshore wind announcement

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is heading to Baltimore to announce what department officials say is a major step toward developing wind energy off the coasts of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and New Jersey.

Details of Thursday’s announcement were not released, but Salazar said in a speech to the American Wind Energy Association in October that the agency had nearly completed environmental impact assessments for the nation’s second offshore wind power lease. Those plans hit a snag late last year when NRG Energy said it had ended a contract with Delmarva Power because of financing problems at its Bluewater Wind subsidiary.

The Mid-Atlantic lease proposal follows the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts that was given the go-ahead in 2010 after years of federal review. That project is still in development.