Wind power in California refers to the 5,829 megawatts (MW) of wind powered electricity generating capacity operating within California as of June 2013. California's wind power capacity has grown by nearly 350% since 2001, when it was less than 1,700 MW.  As of the end of September 2012, wind energy (including that supplied by other states) now supplies about 5% of California’s total electricity needs, or enough to power more than 400,000 households. Most of California's wind generation is found in the Tehachapi area of Kern County, with some big projects in Solano, Contra Costa and Riverside counties as well. California presently ranks second nationwide in terms of capacity, behind Texas and just ahead of Iowa.
Wind power in California has been an area of considerable activity for many years. California was the first U.S. state where large wind farms were developed, beginning in the early 1980s. By 1995, California produced 30 percent of the entire world's wind-generated electricity. However, this situation has changed and Texas is currently the leader in wind power development in the USA.
California has a total of 5,549 megawatts installed wind generation capacity, as of the end of December 2012, wind energy (including power supplied from other states) now supplies about 5% of California’s total electricity needs. When speaking of capacity, attention should be paid to Capacity factor which puts installed capacity and actual capacity in perspective. In 2011, 921.3 megawatts of new production were installed. Most of that activity occurred in the Tehachapi area of Kern County, with some big projects in Solano, Contra Costa and Riverside counties as well. After leading the country for many years, California now ranks second nationwide in terms of capacity, behind Texas, retaking the second spot from Iowa.
A 2009 Stanford University study of California offshore wind potential identified a site off Cape Mendocino that could provide uninterrupted year round power from a 1500 MW wind farm that would produce an average of 790 MW. Three types of offshore wind power were studied, with the conclusion that from 12,300 to 19,700 GWh/yr could be delivered from 1,997 to 3,331 MW of monopile wind turbines installed in up to 20 meter deep water, from 38,200 to 73,000 GWh/yr could be delivered from 6,202 to 12,374 MW of multi-leg wind turbines in 20 to 50 meter deep water, and from 462,100 to 568,200 GWh/yr from 73,025 to 91,707 MW of floating turbine foundation wind turbines in from 50 to 200 meter deep water, such as those being studied for use off the coast of Maine by the Ocean Energy Institute and the DeepCwind Consortium.