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Every one of America’s 57,636 wind turbines, mapped

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. Most of the county’s turbines are concentrated around the Tehachapi Pass, where the flow of air off the Pacific Ocean gets funneled through the Tehachapi Mountains, giving the region an average annual wind speed of about 20 mph, one of the highest in the nation. The natural landscape combined with high electricity demand from nearby Los Angeles mean that the region has been at the forefront of the national wind industry since its inception in the 1980s. This image from the USGS’s database shows the locations of hundreds of Kern County’s wind turbines, lined up in diagonal rows…”

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