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Offshore_WindRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia is proposing the development of wind turbines 24 miles off the coast to smooth the way for the development of one of the nation’s first Atlantic wind farms.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Thursday it is seeking public comment on the proposal to assess potential environmental issues related to the research turbines.

Dominion Virginia Power submitted a successful $1.6 million bid last September to lease nearly 113,000 acres off the Virginia coast for the development of wind turbines. The turbines have the potential to generate 2,000 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 700,000 homes.

The research project proposed by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is a partnership with Dominion. It also includes cables to link the turbines with Virginia Beach.