The US has been one of the frontrunners in embracing renewable energy as a way of reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Although hydropower remains the US’s largest energy contributor, the country’s wind energy is the second-largest source of clean energy. As of 2017, the US had a capacity of 229.9GW in renewable energy from 116.4 GW in 2008. Another report released in July 2017 indicated that the country had 14,004 MW of wind projects under construction. Below is a list of the five biggest wind farms in the US;
1. Alta Wind Energy Centre
The Alta Wind Energy Centre is located in Tehachapi, Kern County, California, and the biggest wind farm in the United States. The facility has a capacity of around 1,550MW and the power is sold to Southern California Edison. The power utility has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with, Terra-Gen Power, the developers of the wind farm.
The wind plant is also called Mojave Wind Farm and its first five units were launched in 2011. In 2010, Vestas, a Danish wind turbine manufacturer won a contract to supply 190 units of its V90-3.0 MW model wind turbine for the Alta project.
2. Los Vientos Wind Farm
The Los Vientos Wind Farm was completed in five phases and has a total capacity of 910MW. The wind farm was constructed by Duke Energy Renewables, one of the commercial subsidiaries of Duke Energy. The Los Vientos I and II wind farms were launched in December 2012 and have a combined capacity of 402MW.
The 200MW Los Vientos 1 wind farm has 87 Siemens SWT-2.3-108 turbines and occupies more than 30,000 acres. The Los Vientos II has 84 Mitsubishi Heavy Industry (MHI) MWT 102 wind turbines and generates 202MW. The Los Vientos III and IV wind farms include 200 turbines supplied by Vestas.
3. Shepherds Flat Wind Farm
The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is located near Arlington in Eastern Oregon and one of the biggest wind farms in the US. The wind power facility was developed by Caithness Energy and has a capacity of 845MW. The wind farm is located on more than 30 square miles of area in the Gilliam and Morrow counties. The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm was built at a cost of $2 billion and its construction started in 2009.
In 2010, the US Department of Energy announced a loan guarantee of $1.3bn for the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm. The wind project was opened for commercial activities in 2012. The project was put together using 338 GE2.5XL turbines and has a capacity of 2.5MW. The power from the wind plant is sold to Southern California Edison.
4. Roscoe Wind Farm
The Roscoe Wind Farm is a 781MW facility and the fourth largest wind facility in the US. The facility is located 45 miles south-west of Abilene in Texas. The Roscoe Wind Farm is operated by E.ON Climate in partnership with Germany-based Renewables (EC&R). The project was assembled using 627 wind turbines and was constructed in four phases between 2007 and 2009.
The first two phases of the project generated a capacity of 325.5MW while the third and fourth phases generated a combined capacity of 446MW.
5. Horse Hollow Wind Energy Centre
The Horse Hollow Wind Energy Centre is located in Taylor and Nolan County, Texas, and has a capacity of 735.5MW. It is one of the biggest wind farms in the US. The wind plant was constructed in four phases and built between 2005 and 2006. The power produced at Horse Hollow Wind Energy Centre is enough to power around 180,000 homes in Texas.
The wind plan sits on a 47,000 piece of land and was assembled using turbines from Siemens and GE. In total, the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Centre was constructed using 130 Siemens 2.3MW wind turbines and 291 GE 1.5MW turbines.