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Alta Wind Energy Center

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Alta Wind Energy Center

Alta Wind Energy Center
Alta Wind Energy Center is located in California
Alta Wind Energy Center
Location of the Alta Wind Energy Center in California
Country United States
Location Tehachapi Pass, Kern County, California
Status Operational
Commission date 2010
Wind farm
Type Onshore
Power generation
Units operational 100 X 1.5 MW (Alta I)
50 X 3 MW (Alta II)
50 X 3 MW (Alta III)
34 X 3 MW (Alta IV)
56 X 3 MW (Alta V)
50 X 3 MW (Alta VI)
56 X 3 MW (Pinyon Pines I)
50 X 3 MW (Alta VIII)
44 X 3 MW (Pinyon Pines II)
Make and model Vestas
Nameplate capacity 1,320 (installed)
3,000 MW (max. planned)
Annual generation 1,690 (approx.)

The Alta Wind Energy Center is a wind farm located in Tehachapi Pass of the Tehachapi Mountains, in Kern County, California. As of 2013, it is the largest wind farm in the world, with a combined installed capacity of 1,320 MW (1,770,000 hp). The project, being developed near Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm— site of the first large-scale wind farms installed in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s—is "a powerful illustration of the growing size and scope of modern wind projects".[1][2]

Southern California Edison has agreed to a 25-year power purchase agreement for the power produced as part of the power purchase agreements for up to 1,500 MW (2,000,000 hp) or more of power generated from new projects to be built in the Tehachapi area. The project will "reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 5.2 million metric tons, which is equivalent to taking 446,000 cars off the road".[1] A total of 3,000 MW (4,000,000 hp) is planned.[3]

The wind farm is being developed by Terra-Gen Power which closed a US$1.2 billion financing deal in July 2010 with partners that included Citibank, Barclays Capital, and Credit Suisse. After many delays, the first phase began construction in 2010. Financing for additional phases of $650 million was secured in April 2012. Construction of the Alta Wind Energy Center is expected to create more than 3,000 domestic manufacturing, construction, and maintenance jobs, and contribute more than one billion dollars to the local economy.[1]


A small portion of Alta Wind Energy Center looking from Oak Creek Road.

The original "Alta-Oak Creek Mojave Project" plan consisted of up to 320 wind turbines occupying a 9,000-acre (36 km2) area while producing 800 MW (1,100,000 hp) of power. That project was originally developed by Oak Creek Energy Systems under the contract with Terra-Gen, but the project development was later transferred to Terra-Gen. The project then became the first development under the umbrella of Alta Wind Energy Center.[4]

The Alta-Oak Creek Mojave Project is generally located at the south side of the Oak Creek Road, starting a few miles west of the state route 14 in Mojave and continuing westward along the Oak Creek Road to the west side of the Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road.[5]

According to the American Wind Energy Association, two initial projects were completed in fall 2010, the 150 MW (200,000 hp)Alta II (Vestas) project using 50 3 MW (4,000 hp) generators and the 150 MW Alta I project using 100 1.5 MW generators.[6] Three subsequent projects 150 MW Alta III, 102 MW (137,000 hp) Alta IV, and 168 MW Alta V projects were completed in the 2nd quarter of 2011 using 50, 34, and 56 3 MW Vestas V-90 wind turbines. Alta VIII and Alta VI projects, comprising 300 MW (400,000 hp), were completed in late 2011/early 2012. Alta VII and IX projects comprising 300 MW (400,000 hp), were completed in December 2012 (bringing the total to 1,320 MW (1,770,000 hp)), but they were renamed to Pinyon Pines Wind I and Pinyon Pines Wind II.[7]

138 MW (185,000 hp) Alta X and 90 MW (120,000 hp) Alta XI are under development with scheduled completion in late 2013, 180 MW (240,000 hp) Alta XIII in 2019.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Terra-Gen bags $631m for more phases at California's Alta Wind Renewable Energy World, 29 July 2010.
  2. ^ World's Largest Wind Project is Underway Recharge, June 3, 2011
  3. ^ GE Acquires California Wind Farm, UK Energy Management Firm
  4. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Alta Wind Energy Center. 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Notice of Preparation of a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (Alta Infill II)". Kern County, California. p. 3. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  6. ^ California U.S. Wind Energy Projects - California, AWEA, Oct 22, 2010
  7. ^ CNBC: MidAmerican Wind Announces Completion of 300-Megawatt Pinyon Pines Wind I and II Projects
  8. ^ California Renewables Portfolio Standard: RPS Project Status Table 2013 July

External links

  • Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC)
  • Alta Wind Energy Center
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