Wind development in the Tehachapi Pass began in the early 1980s. The area hosts a multitude of wind farms, comprising one of California's largest wind resource areas. The pass is undergoing much repowering activity. The area has multiple generations of wind turbine technology installed, including both single and double blade turbines, as well as the more modern three blade horizontal axis design. The older generation turbines generate kilowatts, and the modern turbines installed generate up to 3 megawatts, depending on the specific turbine and manufacturer. The Tehachapi wind resource area is a net exporter of generation to other parts of the state of California. A state initiative to upgrade the transmission out of Tehachapi (Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project) began in 2008 and is expected to be completed by 2012. This has opened the door to further regional wind power development and multiple projects are expected to be installed to utilize that capacity. A prime location for viewing the turbines is off of State Route 58 and from Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road.
One proponent for further regional wind power development is Southern California Edison who executed power purchase agreements for up to 1,500 megawatts (MW) or more of power generated from new projects to be built in the Tehachapi area, of which the Alta Wind Energy Center was developed. The 2006 contract, which more than doubles SCE’s wind energy portfolio, envisions more than 50 square miles (130 km2) of wind parks in the Tehachapi region, which is triple the size of any existing U.S. wind farm.
Other well-known wind turbine locations in California include the Altamont Pass Wind Farm and the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm, near Palm Springs.
See also