Frequently Asked Questions

Energy

The USGS conducts basic research on geologic energy resources including oil, gas, gas hydrates, geothermal, and coal.

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Wind turbines at Ponnequin Wind Facility, Colorado
According to a report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, wind turbines are predominantly made of steel (71-79% of total turbine mass), fiberglass, resin, or plastic (11-16%), iron or cast iron (5- 17%), copper (1%), and aluminum (0-2%). According to the 2017 Wind Technologies Market Report, many turbine components are domestically...
Image: Sandhill Cranes Near Wind Turbines
A key challenge facing the wind industry is the potential for turbines to adversely affect wild animals both directly, via collisions, as well as indirectly due to noise pollution, habitat loss, and reduced survival or reproduction. Among the most impacted wildlife are birds and bats, which by eating destructive insects provide billions of dollars...
Wind turbines
The number of turbines installed in the U.S. each year varies based on a number of factors, but on average 3,000 turbines have been built in the U.S. each year since 2005.  Learn more: Wind Energy U.S. Wind Turbine Database  
Image: Wind Turbine Blade
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) maintains a database of proposed turbines that they are evaluating as potential obstructions to airspace. However, an FAA determination of “non-hazard” is just one step of many in the permitting process, and many turbines evaluated by the FAA are never built. Learn more: U.S. Wind Turbine Database
Block Island Wind Farm
The U.S. Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) includes all utility-scale turbines that have been installed in the United States. As of January 2019, only one offshore wind farm has been constructed in the U.S. - the Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island. However, according to the Department of Energy, several other offshore projects are in advanced...
Wind turbines on a midwest farm
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. home uses 867 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month. The mean turbine capacity in the U.S. Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) is 1.67 megawatts (MW). At a 33% capacity factor, that average turbine would generate over 402,000 kWh per month - enough for over 460 average U.S. homes. To...
Wind Farm
No. To our knowledge, the U.S. Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) is unique. Other datasets might be available from other countries on an ad hoc basis, but we are not aware of any central repository of those data. For general information and statistics on international wind projects, see thewindpower.net. 
wind turbines around a farm house
The U.S. Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) is designed to be a comprehensive source of information for utility-scale wind turbines in the United States; residential-scale turbines are excluded. We have removed turbines known to be residential scale and have excluded turbines that are both less than 65 kW in rated capacity and less than 30 meters in...
person on a gravel road along side a row of wind turbines
The U.S. Wind Turbine Database project compiles wind turbine information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (LBNL) Wind Technologies Market Report dataset, the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) wind turbine and project datasets, and the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) legacy (...
Image shows a screenshot of the US Wind Turbine Database Viewer
We suggest the following citation for use in academic papers and where applicable: Hoen, B.D., Diffendorfer, J.E., Rand, J.T., Kramer, L.A., Garrity, C.P., Hunt, H.E. (<year of USWTDB access>) United States Wind Turbine Database. U.S. Geological Survey, American Wind Energy Association, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory data release...
Wind turbines
The U.S. Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) is updated every three months [or four times a year] and contains turbines that were installed as recently as 3 months preceding the update.
Tall wind turbines in a semi-arid shrubland with a bright rainbow
As of January 2019, the U.S. Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) contains more than 58,000 turbines. These turbines have all been constructed since 1980 in approximately 1,500 wind power projects spanning at least 43 states (plus Puerto Rico and Guam).