May 14, 2018 Read More →

Map of the Week: The 57,000+ Wind Turbines in the U.S.

The Washington Post:

California’s Kern County, home to the city of Bakersfield, bills itself as the “Wind Capital of the West.” But a Washington Post analysis of a massive new U.S. Geological Survey database of over 57,000 commercial wind turbines suggests that the county is being overly modest: It is, in fact, the wind capital of the entire country.

To create the database, the USGS partnered with the Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the American Wind Energy Association. The organizations merged their individual data sets to create a new database that was more accurate and comprehensive than previous efforts. Once they compiled the new database, researchers attempted to visually verify the precise location of each turbine using satellite imagery. They intend to update it periodically in the coming years as the wind industry grows.

The database shows that Kern County is home to some 4,581 wind turbines with a total power-generating capacity of somewhere north of 4,000 megawatts, giving Kern the largest county-level concentration of wind capacity in the nation. Put another way, there are more turbines in Kern County alone than in the entire Northeast region of the United States.

California can also boast the No. 2 and No. 3 counties in the nation when it comes to turbine density: Riverside, home to the San Gorgonio Pass wind farm, and Alameda, where the Altamont Pass wind farm is located. Texas’ Nolan County and Oregon’s Gilliam County round out the top five.

At the other end of the spectrum, 2,501 counties are tied for dead last, with no commercial wind energy to speak of. There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is simple geography. There’s a lot of variation in average annual wind speeds in the U.S…. The southeast, in particular, is virtually a wind desert relative to the rest of the country. As a result, there are hardly any commercial wind projects to be found in the region.

More: Every One Of America’s 57,636 Wind Turbines, Mapped

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