The Department of Interior announced December 12 that it is seeking expressions of interest in the leasing of locations for wind farms off the coast of North Carolina. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has identified three areas totaling 1,441 nautical square miles on the Outer Continental Shelf where commercial wind energy leasing could take place. At the same time, the Energy Department announced the selection of seven research and development projects for offshore wind energy in marine or lake waters off the coasts of Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia; each will receive up to $4 million to complete the engineering, design, and permitting phases.