The Associated Press

WILMINGTON, N.C. — A Virginia energy company has asked the federal government to lease 213 square miles of ocean off the North Carolina coast so it can build a massive wind farm.

The StarNews of Wilmington reported Friday that Apex Wind Energy, based in Charlottesville, Va., wants to lease the area more than 20 miles off the coast because of its sustained winds. The site also is close to Wilmington and Morehead City, where the electricity generated from the farm could be brought ashore.

The news came shortly after an announcement by Duke Energy that it was for a pilot wind project in Pamlico Sound.

Experts say if Apex’s request is approved, the company will complete a five-year site assessment study before applying for final government approval.

A 2009 study by University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill researchers found North Carolina had several areas feasible for wind farms.

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