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Wind power in California has been an area of considerable activity for many years. California was the first U.S. state where large wind farms were developed, beginning in the early 1980s.[1] By 1995, California produced 30 percent of the entire world's wind-generated electricity.[2] However, this situation has changed and Texas is currently the leader in wind power development in the USA having a total installed capacity of 7,907 MW as of April 2009, with Iowa climbing up to second place with 2,883 MW, while California lagged behind with only 2,653 MW. [3] During 2007, while Texas added 1,618 MW of new capacity, California only added 63 MW. [4]

More than 13,000 of California's wind turbines, or 95 percent of all of California's wind output, are in three primary regions: Altamont Pass Wind Farm (east of San Francisco); Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm (south east of Bakersfield) and San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm (near Palm Springs, east of Los Angeles).[2]

The Alta-Oak Creek Mojave wind project is an approved 800 MW wind farm proposal which would include up to 320 wind turbines in the mountains between Tehachapi and Mojave. Kern County is reviewing a number of other proposed wind projects that would generate a combined 4,600 megawatts of renewable energy if approved.[5]

On January 12, 2004, it was reported that the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against wind farm owners for killing tens of thousands of birds at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area near San Francisco, California.[6] In February 2008, a state appeals court upheld an earlier ruling that rejected the lawsuit.[7]

Installed capacity growth

The following table compares the growth in wind power installed nameplate capacity in MW for Texas, California, and the entire United States since 1999.[8]

Year Texas California US
1999 180 1,646 2,500
2000 181 1,646 2,566
2001 1,096 1,714 4,261
2002 1,096 1,822 4,685
2003 1,293 2,043 6,374
2004 1,293 2,096 6,740
2005 1,995 2,150 9,149
2006 2,739 2,376 11,575
2007 4,296 2,439 16,596
2008 7,116 2,517 25,176

See also


  1. ^ Major CA Wind Energy Resource Areas
  2. ^ a b Overview of Wind Energy in California
  3. ^ U.S. Wind Energy Industry Installs over 2,800 MW in First Quarter, Business Wire, April 28, 2009
  4. ^ Iowa first in wind energy percentage, Des Moines Register, April 2, 2008
  5. ^ California's largest wind power projects has been approved by Kern County 17 December 2009.
  6. ^ Lawsuit Seeks Redress for Massive Illegal Bird Kills at Altamont Pass, CA, Wind Farms, Center for Biological Diversity, January 12, 2004
  7. ^ Appeals court dismisses lawsuit over bird deaths at Altamont Pass
  8. ^ "The Energy Report (Publication 96-1266). Chapter 11: Wind Power". Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-06.  


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