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 2018, California wind projects generated 14,078 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity – 7.2% of all power generated within California.3 In 2018, out-of-state wind projects generated 18,633 GWh of electricity for California, representing 21% of total power imports.3 Combined, wind projects supplied over 11.5% of California’s total system power,3 more than enough to power all homes in Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles Counties combined.2
Wind energy accounted for 29% of California’s renewable energy production for the RPS as of 2018.4 (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. (See http://www.ecdms.energy.ca.gov/elecbycounty.aspx and footnote 3.)
- California Energy Commission, Energy Almanac, Total System Electric Generation (2018). (See https://www.energy.ca.gov/data-reports/energy-almanac/california-electricity-data/2018-total-system-electric-generation.)
- CEC, Tracking Progress - Renewable Energy, Rev. Dec. 2018.