RICHMOND (AP) -- Federal officials are heading to Richmond to explain the ground rules for developing wind power off the Virginia coast.

Representatives with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will give an overview Thursday of competitive lease sales in waters about 27 miles off Virginia Beach. The lease sales are scheduled later this year.

The Interior Department has said the 133-square-mile lease area has the potential to generate enough electricity to power 700,000 homes.

Dominion Virginia Power has been among the energy companies that have expressed interest in developing wind farms off the coast.

Proponents say Virginia is strongly positioned to support a new offshore wind industry that could create thousands of jobs. They point to the state's port and shipbuilding industry and optimal winds and ocean depths.

The meeting is from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Perimeter Center, Board Room 4, at 9960 Mayland Drive. It's for potential bidders and other stakeholders, the Bureau stated.

AP-WF-01-17-13 0821GMT

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