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US Energy Officials Overseeing Tower off Va. Coast

October 13, 2012

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Energy is now overseeing a lonely landmark off the Virginia coast that for decades has guided ships into the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Light Tower is a 120-foot-tall platform 13 miles east of Virginia Beach that resembles an oil rig. It was built in 1965.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that the tower will be outfitted with equipment and scientific instruments to chart wind patterns and other conditions. Energy department officials say it is part of efforts to develop offshore wind energy in the Atlantic Ocean. Scientists also will study wave and tidal energy.

Officials say the department assumed oversight of the tower in late September, taking over custodial duties from the Coast Guard. The hope is for the tower to be operational in the next year.

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