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%).

According to the 2017 Wind Technologies Market Report, many turbine components are domestically sourced and manufactured (in the United States). Wind turbine towers are 70-90% domestically sourced, blade and hub components are 50-70% domestic, and nacelle assemblies are over 85% domestically sourced. However, many internal parts such as pitch and yaw systems, bearings, bolts, and controllers are typically imported.

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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

Is there an international wind turbine database available?

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 .

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 (...

How often is the U.S. Wind Turbine Database updated?

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.

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: 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.

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Image of wind turbine towering over trees
December 31, 2018

Wind turbine towering over trees

A wind turbine rising above Oʻahu trees forms part of a wind energy installation where USGS bat research is taking place.

U.S. Wind Turbine Database viewer
December 31, 2018

U.S. Wind Turbine Database animation of viewer.

Animation of U.S. Wind Turbine Database viewer.

Wind Turbines
January 26, 2017

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines

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

Wind turbines
April 8, 2016

Wind turbines

Attribution: Ecosystems
July 26, 2012

PubTalk 7/2012 — Wind Energy and Wildlife

-- the challenges of wind-energy development and wildlife conservation

by Manuela Huso, Research Statistician

 

  • Wind-power development in the United States is increasing exponentially, with proposals to provide 20% of the country's total power by 2030.
  • High numbers of bird and bat carcasses at some wind farms
Image: Wind Turbine Blade

Wind Turbine Blade

This photo shows one of the three 135-ft blades of a turbine before installation. Although the blades of wind turbines appear to move quite slowly to the human eye, blade tips often move at speeds faster than 100 mph.

Attribution: Energy and Minerals
Wind turbines above San Gorgonio Pass, Calif.

Wind turbines above San Gorgonio Pass, Calif.

Wind turbines above San Gorgonio Pass, Calif.