U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar highlighted the potential of offshore wind power in the Atlantic Ocean at a public hearing in Atlantic City, signaling it could replace the amount of energy generated by 3,000 coal-fired plants.

Salazar also commented that domestic oil and natural gas drilling will continue to be part of the nation's energy plan.

Currently, only about 1,470 coal plants are operating in the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration. Coal plants generate 48.5 percent of the total electric power in the country.

Salazar stated that windmills off the Atlantic Ocean could potentially produce a total of 1,000 gigawatts of electricity. The entire country had an electricity-generation capacity of about 1,000 gigawatts in 2007 including all forms of generators such as coal, gas, nuclear, hydropower and other renewables, the EIA recorded.

The National Renewable Energy Lab has identified as well, over 900 gigawatts of wind potential off the Pacific Coast. Currently, there are more than 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind projects proposed in the United States.