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USGS Launches Interactive Map of the Nation’s Wind Turbines

The map was built with publicly available data and shows the locations of all wind turbines with high-resolution remote imagery to within 10 meters.

USGS Wind Map
Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing sectors of renewable energy in the United States. About 3% of the total electricity in the United States was generated by wind turbines in 2012 (according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), which is equivalent to the annual electricity use for about 12 million households. The amount of electricity generated by wind has increased from about 6 billion kilowatt hours (kwh) in 2000 to 140 billion kwh in 2012.

In response to the Department of Interior’s Powering Our Future initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has begun investigating how to assess the impacts of wind energy development on wildlife at a national scale.

The first step in understanding the impact of wind energy development is to determine where the wind turbines are located. Prior to this study, there was no publicly available national-level data set of wind turbines. There were maps that showed turbines locations  in a few states, and there were national-level maps that showed wind power facilities, but not individual turbines, or information about  those turbines, such as height, blade length, or energy producing capacity.

To remedy the lack of information, the USGS created this publicly available national dataset and interactive mapping application of wind turbines. This dataset is built with publicly available data, as well as searching for and identifying individual wind turbines using satellite imagery. The locations of all wind turbines, including the publicly available datasets, were visually verified with high-resolution remote imagery to within plus or minus 10 meters.

Click on the map below to explore.



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