Top 10 - onshore wind farms
Wind power is a key source of renewable energy: clean, cost-effective, sustainable and local. Here, Energy Digital takes a look at the top 10 onshore wind farms by capacity.
10 | Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm
Supplying thousands of residents from the Tehachapi, California area with clean power, the more than 3,400 turbines that make up the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm first started to appear in the early 80s. A development project spearheaded by James Dehlsen and Zond Corporation (now known as GE Wind Energy), the site initially met with operational issues as the first Storm Master wind turbines proved unreliable.
One of the original large-scale projects of its kind in the country, further development of the terrain may yet take place. The area, which is located in the San Joaquin Valley - known as the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area - is currently the most promising land in California for wind power projects.
9 | Horse Hollow Wind Energy Centre
Consisting of 421 operational units (291 GE 1.5MW and 139 Siemens 2.3MW turbines), Horse Hollow is located in the very heart of Texas, spread over an area of almost 47,000 acres. Although the site has registered a fluctuating production rate every year since its 2005 opening (an unavoidable consequence of relying on wind for power), it managed to achieve a record output of 2.4mn MWh in 2018.
Constructed in three stages by InvestEnergyGroup and Blattner Energy, Horse Hollow is part of the former company’s large wind energy portfolio, which has the capacity to power one million average US homes.
8 | Roscoe Wind Farm
Located near Fort Worth, Texas, Roscoe was the largest wind farm in the world at the time of its completion. Covering 100,000 acres of land, the site is almost as large as California’s Redwood National Park and crosses into four Texan counties.
Roscoe was constructed in four separate phases, beginning in 2008 and finishing in late 2009. The 627 turbines (406 Mitsubishi 1MW, 55 Siemens 2.3MW and 166 GE 1.5MW) which make up its 781.5MW capacity cost an estimated US$1bn and provide sufficient energy to power 250,000 average houses.
7 | Meadow Lake Wind Farm
414 turbines with a combined capacity of 801MW make up the Meadow Lake Wind Farm in Chalmers, Indiana. Able to provide 220,000 homes with a sustainable source of energy, the farm also contributes to the local community via landowner payments and annual investment.
Costing a total of US$1.3bn to construct and creating almost 50 new full-time jobs, Meadow Lake saves an estimated 1.4bn gallons of water each year, mitigates carbon emissions by displacing the need for fossil-fuelled power plants and increases air quality within the surrounding area.
6 | Shepherds Flat Wind Farm
Approval to start work on the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm was given in 2008 and commenced the following year at a site near Arlington, Oregon. A project initiated by Caithness Energy, it uses 338 of GE’s 2.5XL - 2.5MW wind turbines and was ready for operation in 2012.
Capable of generating two billion KWh of power per year (enough to power 235,000 homes) and producing enough clean energy to mitigate 1.5mn tonnes of CO2, the electricity from Shepherds Flat is sold to Southern California Edison, a utility company striving to increase its renewable portfolio.
5 | Los Vientos Wind Farm
Constructed in five phases as part of Duke Energy Renewables’ Texas portfolio, the groundbreaking for Los Vientos began in 2012 and was finally completed in mid-2016. The site uses a combination of Siemens SWT-2.3-108, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry MWT 102 and Vestas V110 turbines to generate its 912MW capacity - the second-largest in the US.
The power from each phase is currently divided among separate utilities: Los Vientos I to CPS Energy, Los Vientos II, III and IV to Austin Energy and Los Vientos V to Garland Power & Light, Greenville Electric Utility System and Bryan Texas Utilities.
4 | Jaisalmer Wind Park
India’s second-largest operational onshore wind farm, Jaisalmer began generating electricity in 2001. The project was developed by turbine manufacturer Suzlon Energy and employs the company’s complete range of models to achieve the site’s considerable 1,064MW output capacity.
Located in Rajasthan near India’s border with Pakistan, the wind park was a friendly collaboration between Suzlon, the government, utility companies and local communities. Speaking about the project soon after its completion, Tulsi Tanti, Chairman of Suzlon, said, “Suzlon is proud to be playing such a vital role in powering the state of Rajasthan. Completing 1GW of installed capacity is a great achievement for us as a company and for wind energy in India.”
3 | Muppandal Wind Farm
Situated at the southernmost tip of India in the Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, Muppandal is the country’s largest onshore wind farm to date. Initiated by the state-owned company Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency, the site uses approximately 3,000 turbines from multiple manufacturers, such as Suzlon, NEG Micon, Vestas and Enercon turbines.
An important development for local communities, some of which still use more traditional methods for heat and power, the relatively inexpensive, sustainable and local energy provided by Muppandal makes it an invaluable resource.
2 | Alta Wind Energy Centre
Also called the Mojave Wind Farm, the Alta Wind Energy Centre in Kern County, California became operational in 2010. The largest wind farm in the US, it was developed by Terra-Gen Power at a cost of US$2.9bn, with financiers including Barclays and Credit Bank Suisse.
Spread over almost 13 square kilometres, Alta Wind consists of 600 turbines and breaks down into nine separate phases, with further phases scheduled to eventually bring the site’s 1,550MW nameplate capacity up to 3,000MW.
1 | Gansu Wind Farm
Despite already being the largest onshore wind farm currently in operation, Gansu - also known as Jiuquan Wind Power Base - is intended to grow from just under 8,000MW to 20,000MW. One of several megaprojects that have been approved by China’s government, the wind farm will contain over 7,000 turbines once completed.
Located near a desert in the province of Gansu, the wind farm is estimated to cost US$17.5bn in total. China is currently the world-leading developer of wind energy: one in three turbines manufactured globally comes from there at an average rate of one per hour.