California State Wind Resources Map
The Department of Energy's Wind Program and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published a new wind resource map for the state of California . This resource map shows wind speed estimates at 50 meters above the ground and depicts the resource that could be used for utility-scale wind development. Future plans are to provide wind speed estimates at 30 meters, which are useful for identifying small wind turbine opportunities.
As a renewable resource, wind is classified according to wind power classes, which are based on typical wind speeds. These classes range from Class 1 (the lowest) to Class 7 (the highest). In general, at 50 meters, wind power Class 4 or higher can be useful for generating wind power with large turbines. Class 4 and above are considered good resources. Particular locations in the Class 3 areas could have higher wind power class values at 80 meters than shown on the 50 meter map because of possible high wind shear. Given the advances in technology, a number of locations in the Class 3 areas may suitable for utility-scale wind development.
This map indicates that California has wind resources consistent with utility-scale production. The areas of good-to-excellent resource are concentrated in southeastern California. Notable good-to-excellent resource regions include the mountains east of San Diego, San Gorgonio Pass near Palm Springs, the Tehachapi Mountains southeast of Bakersfield, and areas in the Mojave Desert. In northern California, the areas of Altamont and Solano near San Francisco have good-to-excellent resource. Ridge crest locations throughout the state may also have good wind resource.
Before you plan to install your own wind turbine or wind farm, you must know if the wind resource in your location is adequate. From wind resource maps, you can determine if your area of interest should be further explored. Wind resource at a micro level can vary significantly; therefore, you should get a professional evaluation of your specific area of interest.