Fast Facts about California Wind Energy

Wind energy projects totaling at least 5,454 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 2017, California wind projects generated 13,500 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity – 6.8% of all power generated within California.3 In 2016, out-of-state wind projects generated 12,822 GWh of electricity for California, representing  almost 14.0% of total power imports.3 Combined, wind projects supplied over 9% 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 31% of California’s renewable energy production for the RPS as of 2017.4 (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
Altamont Pass (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin Counties)377
San Gorgonio Pass (Riverside County)667
Tehachapi Pass (Kern County)2,926
Solano County1,030
Imperial County264
Shasta County101
San Diego County183
Commercial & Industrial Installations Statewide39
Total5,454
  

Sources

  1. Data compiled by CalWEA from the U.S. Wind Turbine Database.  See https://eerscmap.usgs.gov/uswtdb/ (accessed on May 15, 2018).  Tule Wind Project capacity added to total for San Diego County based on public reports.  Note that the U.S. Wind Turbine Database does not include capacity data for some pre-1990 wind projects, which could add a few hundred megawatts.
  2. Calculated by CalWEA based on California Energy Commission data.
  3. California Energy Commission, Energy Almanac, Total Electricity System Power (2016).
  4. CEC, Tracking Progress - Renewable Energy, Rev. Dec. 2017.