Wind energy projects totaling at least 5,535 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 California1 (View Map)||# MW|
|Altamont Pass (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin Counties)||330|
|Pacheco Pass (Santa Clara County)||17|
|San Diego County||181|
|San Gorgonio Pass (Riverside County)||655|
|Tehachapi Pass (Kern County)||2,925|
|Commercial & Industrial Installations Statewide||34|
- Data compiled by CalWEA from the U.S. Wind Turbine Database. See https://eerscmap.usgs.gov/uswtdb/ (accessed on March 3, 2019). 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.
- Calculated by CalWEA based on California Energy Commission data.
- California Energy Commission, Energy Almanac, Total Electricity System Power (2016).
- CEC, Tracking Progress - Renewable Energy, Rev. Dec. 2017.