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Figures from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) show that 2006 recorded an increase in installed wind power capacity of 15,197 megawatts (MW), taking the total installed capacity to 74,223 MW. The countries with the highest total installed capacity are Germany (20,621 MW), Spain, (11,615 MW), the USA (11,603 MW), India (6,270 MW) and Denmark (3,136). In terms of new installed capacity in 2006, the US lead with 2,454 MW, followed by Germany (2,233 MW), India (1,840 MW), Spain (1,587 MW), China (1,347 MW) and France (810 MW). Listed below are some of the largest wind farms in the world:
Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center (735 MW)
Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center is the world's largest wind farm at 735.5 megawatt (MW) capacity. It consists of 291 GE Energy 1.5 megawatt wind turbines and 130 Siemens 2.3 megawatt wind turbines spread over nearly 47,000 acres of land in Taylor and Nolan County, Texas.
Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm (690 MW)
The east and south area of the Tehachapi Pass has one of California's larger wind farms, generating electricity. The turbines have been in place since the early 1980s and have been upgraded through the years. The original wind turbines were much smaller than the much taller and larger new version turbines now sited for use. They are easily seen from California State Route 58 and from Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road.
San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm (619 MW)
The San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm is the most famous sight on San Gorgonio Pass on its eastern slope, as it marks the gateway into the Coachella Valley. The pass is one of the windiest places in Southern California, and it is one of three major wind farms in California, along with the Altamont Pass Wind Farm and the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm.
Altamont Pass Wind Farm (606 MW)
The Altamont Pass Wind Farm is one of the earliest in the United States. The wind farm is composed of over 6000 relatively small wind turbines of various types, making it at one time the largest farm in the world in terms of capacity. Altamont Pass is still the largest concentration of wind turbines in the world, producing about 125 MW on average. They were installed after the 1970s energy crisis in response to favorable tax policies for investors.
Considered largely obsolete, these numerous small turbines are being gradually replaced with much larger and more cost-effective units. The small turbines are dangerous to various birds of prey that hunt California Ground Squirrels in the area. The larger units turn slower and, being elevated higher, are less hazardous to the local wildlife.
Sweetwater Wind Farm (505 MW)
Construction of the Sweetwater Wind Farm has proceeded in five stages and some of the generating capacity is still being built.
King Mountain Wind Farm (278 MW)
The King Mountain Wind Farm is a 278.2 MW wind farm in Texas, USA. 214 wind turbines are sited in rows along the south-eastern and north-western edges of a mesa (a tabletop mountain) surrounded by deep ravines. Annual electricity production is more than 0.75 TWh.
Roscoe Wind Farm (209 MW)
The 209 megawatt Roscoe Wind Farm in Texas is scheduled for completion by the end of 2007, will cover nearly 30,000 acres, and stretch into three counties. The Roscoe Wind Farm, Airtricity's third Texas project, will use 209 1-MW Mitsubishi 1000A turbines.
Maple Ridge Wind Farm (198 MW)
Maple Ridge Wind Farm is the largest wind farm in New York, United States, with 120 Vestas 1.65 megawatt wind turbines. Each turbine tower is 260 feet tall, with blades 130 feet wide. Collectively, the turbines are capable of producing a maximum of 198 MW, which accounts for three quarters of the wind power capacity of New York.
Waubra Wind Farm (192 MW)
The Waubra Wind Farm in Victoria, Australia, is under construction and will comprise of 128 wind turbines, with associated substations and an operations centre. Each wind turbine will generate 1.5 megawatts, providing a total installed capacity of 192 MW. The wind farm is expected to be operational by mid 2008.
The green energy generated by the wind farm each year will provide for 143,000 households – more than enough to power the nearby City of Ballarat. The Waubra Wind Farm is expected to offset up to 635,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year. This helps to meet future energy needs without further contributing to the cause of climate change.
Nysted Wind Farm (166 MW)
The Nysted Wind Farm is the largest offshore wind farm in the world. It is a joint Danish-Swedish venture built in 2003 near Lolland, with 72 turbines and a total capacity of 166 MW. Annual production is some 595 million kWh, the equivalent to the electricity consumption of 145,000 Danish homes, which could save 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
Horns Rev Wind Farm (160 MW)
At Horns Rev the Danish Energy company, Elsam, has built the first offshore wind farm in the north sea. A total of 80 Vestas V80-2.0 MW units were installed in 2002 with the last turbine coming into operation on Dec 11 2002.
Desert Sky Wind Farm (160 MW)
The Desert Sky Wind Farm Desert Sky Wind Farm is a 160.5 megawatt wind power station located near the far West Texas town of Iraan, in Pecos County. The site consists of 107 GE turbines, each rated at 1.5 megawatts spread over a 15-square-mile area. American Electric Power (AEP) owns the facility and CPS Energy of San Antonio purchases all power produced under long-term agreements with AEP.
Smola Wind Farm (150 MW)
The Smola Wind Farm is in Norway, and consists of 68 wind turbines, making it one of the largest wind projects Europe. With a total generating capacity of 150 MW, the Smøla wind farm's output accounts for more than half of the installed wind power capacity in Norway. The total generating capacity is equivalent to 450 GWh of electricity per year, which corresponds to the average annual power consumption of 22,500 Norwegian households.
Windpark Egmond aan Zee (108 MW)
Windpark Egmond aan Zee (OWEZ) is the first large scale offshore wind farm built off the Dutch North Sea coast. It consists of 36 wind turbines, each capable of producing a theoretical three MW. In total the farm has a capacity of 108 MW. Together these are scaled to provided energy for a maximum of 100,000 households.
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