At a speech in Baltimore, Salazar said he will institute a "smart permitting process" that could result in leases issued within two years, instead of seven years or more.
Salazar and developers of the nation's first offshore wind farm signed a lease last month launching the 130-turbine Cape Wind project off the Massachusetts coast, following an eight-year federal review.
"The Cape Wind lease is an historic milestone in America's renewable energy future, but to fully harness the economic and energy benefits of our nation's vast Atlantic wind potential we need to implement a smart permitting process that is efficient, thorough and unburdened by needless red tape," Salazar said.
Salazar said he and other federal officials will work with governors in 11 Atlantic Coast states to identify promising areas for wind development. If no serious problems are identified, leases could be issued late next year or in early 2012.
Salazar said he hopes to pursue offshore wind power along the Atlantic Coast in the same way officials are pushing solar power in the Southwest.
"If we are wise with our planning, we can help build a robust and environmentally responsible offshore renewable energy program that creates jobs here at home," he said.
A conservation group hailed Salazar's announcement.
"Ocean wind power is the good witch to the bad witch of ocean oil drilling," said Andrew Sharpless, CEO of Oceana. "People need jobs and energy. Ocean wind power, unlike ocean oil drilling, is a great way to do both."