How are wind turbine data collected?

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 (2014) wind turbine dataset, as well as online sources. User feedback is also incorporated once verified with other sources.

The turbine position is verified by visual interpretation using high-resolution aerial imagery.

A detailed description of the data collection and verification process can be found in this webinar.

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What materials are used to make wind turbines?

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%). Many turbine components are domestically sourced and manufactured in the United States ( Wind...

Can wind turbines harm wildlife?

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...

How many wind turbines are installed in the U.S. each year?

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

Where can I find wind turbines that are permitted but not built?

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

How do I cite the U.S. Wind Turbine Database if I want to use the data?

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 Clean Power Association, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory data release...

How many turbines are contained in the U.S. Wind Turbine Database?

As of January 2021, the   U.S. Wind Turbine Database  (USWTDB) contains more than 67,000 turbines. These turbines have all been constructed since 1980 in approximately1,500 wind power projects spanning at least 44 states (plus Puerto Rico and Guam).   Learn more:  Wind Energy  

Why is it important to know the locations of wind turbines?

No publicly-available, national database of wind turbines existed prior to the creation of the USGS Windfarm mapper, which was replaced with the U.S. Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) in 2018. Knowing the location of individual turbines and their technical specifications creates new opportunities for research and improved siting and is important...
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Date published: March 31, 2021

New USGS Analysis of Wind Turbine Upgrades Shows No Impact on Wildlife Mortality

CORVALLIS, ORE. – Reduction in wildlife mortality rates is sometimes cited as a potential benefit to the replacement of older, smaller turbines by larger, next generation turbines. In contrast, others have expressed concern that newer, larger turbines may actually increase bird and bat deaths.

Date published: May 16, 2018

Mapping the Nation's Wind Turbines

There are more than 57,000 wind turbines across the United States, and a new tool allows you to get up close and personal with each one!

Date published: April 19, 2018

U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Department of Energy Release Online Public Dataset and Viewer of U.S. Wind Turbine Locations and Characteristics

Today, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the American Wind Energy Association, released the United States Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) and the USWTDB Viewer to access this new public dataset.

Date published: March 9, 2018

Raptor Interactions with Wind Energy: Case Studies from Around the World

Attempts to measure and mitigate the effects of wind turbines on wildlife have been an integral part of wind energy development.

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U.S. Wind Turbine Database Viewer
December 11, 2018

U.S. Wind Turbine Database Viewer

Demo image of U.S. Wind Turbine Database viewer with inset of cell phone with viewer app.

Wind Turbines
January 26, 2017

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines

Wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm
September 8, 2016

Wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm

The Altamont Pass Wind Far is located in northern California.

Tall wind turbines in a semi-arid shrubland with a bright rainbow
August 19, 2016

Wind Turbines and Rainbow

Tall wind turbines in a semi-arid shrubland with a bright rainbow

person on a gravel road along side a row of wind turbines
May 18, 2014

Data collection at wind energy facility

A field scientist collecting fatality data at a wind energy facility.

Sandhill Cranes fly in close proximity to wind turbines near Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in east-central Wisconsin.
December 31, 2012

Sandhill Cranes Near Wind Turbines

Sandhill Cranes fly in close proximity to wind turbines near Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in east-central Wisconsin, but to date no crane mortality has been associated with turbines in this area.

Image: Wind Turbine

Wind Turbine

Most modern wind turbines are taller than a 30-story building. Field biologist Apple Snider stands at the base of a turbine in New York for scale.

Attribution: Energy and Minerals
Image: Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines at certain sites in North America each cause dozens of bat fatalities per year.

Attribution: Energy and Minerals
Bat approaching wind turbine GIF 2

Bat approaching wind turbine GIF 2

This GIF uses thermal imagery to show a bat approaching a wind turbine tower.

Wind turbines above San Gorgonio Pass, Calif.

Wind turbines above San Gorgonio Pass, Calif.

Wind turbines above San Gorgonio Pass, Calif.