Together, the US Geological Survey and the Department of Energy, in partnership with DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the American Wind Energy Association, have published the most comprehensive online database and interactive map of wind turbines in the United States.
The new United States Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) was unveiled on Thursday by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), and boasts a “comprehensive dataset of US wind turbine locations and characteristics.” The new tool and accompanying database is more accurate and will be updated more often than existing wind turbine datasets.
The USWTDB currently contains data on more than 57,000 wind turbines across the country, constructed between the 1980s and through to 2018.
“This database and map are not only a fantastic and much-needed tool that will see much use, but also proof of the power of bringing together the expertise in both government and industry,” said Tim Petty, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the Department of the Interior. “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.”
“Our collaborative arrangement with AWEA and USGS allowed us to merge the separate proprietary datasets from each of our organizations and combine them with those from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which enables an unprecedented view of the U.S. turbine fleet,” added Ben Hoen, a research scientist and the project’s lead at Berkeley Lab.
The database has already been hard at work behind the scenes, providing the US Departments of Defense and Homeland Security and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with critical information to determine the operational impact of wind turbines on radar.
“The Energy Department is conducting early-stage research to support development and testing to ensure that wind facilites do not interfere with our nation’s radar systems” explained Daniel Simmons, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “This database builds on those efforts and provides an important resource for other government agencies that use radar for their missions.”
“The USWTDB directly supports the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) air defense mission by enabling us to conduct credible and meaningful analysis of wind turbine-radar interference impacts, and ultimately helps ensure that US renewable energy does not adversely impact our ability to conduct our homeland defense mission,” added Major-General Christopher Coates, NORAD Director of Operations.