The U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released the first publicly available interactive map and geo-dataset showing more than 47,000 onshore wind turbine locations and related information across the entire U.S.
According to the DOI, the new tool is consistent with the goals of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's Order No. 3330, which was released in October 2013 to incorporate a landscape-level approach to development on public lands.
"In making this critical information available to the public, the USGS has provided public agencies and private companies with a new tool to help guide smart landscape-level planning decisions that support domestic energy production while minimizing conflicts," says Jewell. "The data will help improve the siting of future wind energy projects, as well as aid land managers in devising more up-to-date land-use and multiple-use plans."
The wind turbine map, which includes turbines installed as of July 2013, was created by combining publicly available datasets from the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as well as other federal, state and local sources. USGS researchers also identified additional turbines not in those pre-existing databases and added them to the dataset and map.
The DOI notes that before this new release, some individual state maps with turbine information and national maps of facility information existed, but there were no national maps with turbine-specific information and verified locations.
"In addition to informing siting decisions for future wind energy projects, this fundamental, nationwide data will support research on wind generation efficiency, economic impacts and applied science for reducing wildlife impacts," says Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle. "Just as we need basic information about stream flows to support good water administration decisions, we must have accurate data on wind generation to better understand and support this important source of renewable energy."
The interactive map is available here.