VA offshore Wind Auction underway Wednesday - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

VA offshore Wind Auction underway Wednesday

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Nearly 113,000 Atlantic Ocean acres 23.5 miles off Virginia Beach are being auctioned for the development of wind turbines that could supply power to 700,000 Virginia homes.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management opened bidding at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. Eight energy companies qualified to bid in the auction, including the state's largest utility, Dominion Virginia Power.

Bidding is expected to continue through the day.

Advocates say Virginia's port facilities and underused shipbuilding industry are key assets to develop a supply chain for the wind industry.

First, however, the U.S. must attract the manufacturers that are now primarily based in Europe, which has a huge advantage over the U.S. in terms of wind energy. The U.S. still doesn't have an offshore wind farm.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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