Jan 23, 2011

Wind Farms in California

What did the California wind farm say when it met Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger?
- We’re big fans of yours!

The joke is amusing, whether you support the Republicans or the Democrats, and it also aptly informs us about the existence of alternate energy in the state of California, where wind farms produce a little over 1% of the entire state’s energy (figures from 2004).

There are over 10,000 wind turbines in California and a majority of them are located in Altamont Pass, Tehachapi and San Gorgonio. These wind turbines naturally generate plenty of jobs for Californians; according to estimates from the 1990s, wind farms created over 5,000 direct and indirect jobs, and drew over $3 billion in private investments.

Wind turbines are commonly used by small farms and homes where access to the national electricity grid is limited. Solar power systems are also regularly relied upon in these areas.

Although the idea of clean energy from wind farms seems appealing, they do cause environmental harm, especially to migratory birds as they get killed by the spinning blades of these turbines. Once the farms have been constructed, there really is little that can be done to prevent such harm to birds, but conservatories may be made to protect the species if threatened with extinction.