Fast Facts about California Wind Energy

Wind energy projects totaling 5,662 megawatts (MW) of capacity are operating in California today,1 providing enough electricity to power more than 2 million California households.2 This represents more than a tripling of wind energy capacity since California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) law was adopted in 2002.

In 2015, California wind projects generated 12,180 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity – 6.2% of all power generated within California.3 In the same year, out-of-state wind projects generated 11,927 GWh of electricity for California, representing 12.0% of total power imports.3 Combined, wind projects supplied 8.2% of California’s total system power,3 enough to power all homes in Sacramento, Santa Clara, and San Diego Counties combined.2

Wind energy accounted for 36.6% of California’s renewable energy production for the RPS as of 2015.4 (See figure below.)

Generating wind power creates no emissions and uses virtually no water:

  • The water consumption savings from wind projects in California total more than 3.4 billion gallons of water per year1
  • The wind power installed in California will avoid over 7.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the equivalent of taking 1.7 million cars off the road1

 

Major Wind Development Areas in California5 (View Map) # MW # Wind Turbines
Altamont Pass (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin Counties) 510 4,029
San Gorgonio Pass (Riverside County) 683 2,159
Tehachapi Pass (Kern County) 3,236 4,731
Solano County 1,032 601
Imperial County 265 112
Shasta County 101 44
San Diego County 52 26
Other 35 181
Total 5,914 11,883
   

 

 

 

 

Sources

  1. American Wind Energy Association. (Data as of Q3 2016)
  2. Calculated by CalWEA based on California Energy Commission data.
  3. California Energy Commission, Energy Almanac, Total Electricity System Power (2015).
  4. CEC, Tracking Progress - Renewable Energy, Rev. 10/11/16
  5. American Wind Energy Association. (Data as of December 2014) Updated January 2016.