California produces 20 percent of the nation's total wind capacity.
California possesses significant wind resources, stretching from the Oregon border to Mexico, with the largest concentration of high wind power areas in Southern California. California is a national leader in the production of wind energy (third behind Texas and Iowa), producing almost 10 percent of the nation’s total capacity.
BLM public lands play a major role in this effort. Currently, about 1,373 wind turbines on public lands have been authorized, capable of producing 828 megawatts of power and $3,140,600 annually in royalties. This production comes from 27 rights-of-way on 28,805 acres, most of which are located in the San Gorgonio Pass area in Riverside County and the Tehachapi Pass area in Kern County. These figures do not include development on private lands.
Thanks to California's Renewable Portfolio Standard and national priorities, BLM California has seen a surge in wind energy applications. Many of these applications are currently for testing, also called Type II applications, which use anemometers to judge wind strength and sustainability. Applications for wind energy development, or Type III applications, are becoming more common, and in December 2011 the Tule Wind Energy Project became the first wind project approved on California public lands since 2002.
BLM also assists in development of wind energy projects on private lands by issuing access rights-of-way for roads and power lines across public lands to support such projects. Finally, efforts are also underway to “repower” existing systems to improve efficiency, reduce impacts to birds, and better integrate wind energy resources into the State’s transmission system, with recent examples in the Palm Springs area.
More than 1,373 turbines authorized capable of producing over 828 megawatts of wind energy
Wind turbines located in Tehachapi, California