When people think of wind power as a renewable energy, they tend to envision images of a couple of wind turbines twirling in the wind. The Tehachapi Wind Farm is an example of wind power on a large scale.
The Tehachapi wind farm is located in Kern County in California. It is one of the largest wind farms in the world. When I say large, I mean large. It has over 4,600 wind turbines. The turbines are built to turn into the wind to maximize energy production and even maintain braking mechanisms if the wind becomes to powerful. Three different styles of turbines are used including two and three blade traditional horizontal turbines as well as egg beater turbines, although the beaters are being phased out.
Collectively, the turbines generate over 1.4 billion kilowatts of electricity per year. Online since 1979, this one wind farm produces more electricity than Japan or Germany, two of the leading wind power countries in the world. In more practical terms, the farm produces generates over 120 million dollars in revenues by selling the electricity it produces each year. Much of the energy is sold in California with the California Edison utility recently reaching an agreement to purchase a large chunk to power much of the greater Los Angeles area.
When discussing renewable energy, there is a general consensus that arises. First, most people think it is a good idea for a couple of reasons. First, we can limit our fossil fuel addition and avoid the mess in the Mideast. Second, the use of renewable energy is popular because it is demonstratively better for our environment when compared to fossil fuels such as oil and cold.
Unfortunately, there is also a “look to the future” feel for renewable energy. Simply put, most think it is something that will not replace fossil fuels in this lifetime, to wit, it is a future concept. In fact, massive renewable energy alternatives are already coming online. The most famous is in Brazil where the country has converted away from oil to ethanol fuels. Brazil, however, is a long way away. The Tehachapi Wind Farm is a concrete example of the advancements in this country of renewable energy, something proving it does not have to be a future concept.