New database spotlights nation's wind turbines

New database spotlights nation's wind turbines

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A new database provides insight into wind turbines in use across the country.

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 the public dataset.

The database is a comprehensive set of U.S. wind turbine locations and characteristics that is easily accessible, more accurate and updated more often than existing wind turbine datasets, according to a release. 

The database brings together data previously scattered across many datasets and in some cases unavailable to the public to a single package. The database currently contains information from more than 57,000 turbines, constructed from the 1980s through 2018, in more than 1,700 wind power projects spanning 43 states plus Puerto Rico and Guam.

Users can interact with the data using multiple filters and colorings to allow wind projects across counties, states or regions to be quickly scanned for unique qualities. The full dataset can be downloadedwith a few clicks in a variety of formats, and users can connect to the underlying data and incorporate the Viewer into their own website. The database and viewer include wind turbine locations and characteristics, including make and model, total height, hub height, rotor diameter, year of installation, and rated capacity to produce electricity.

The dataset and its associated viewer allow federal agencies to share data to properly develop and plan around wind projects. The availability of these data are crucial to planning for government agencies, as well as researchers.

"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."

For example, the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration already have been using the database to perform operational impact assessments of wind turbines on radar. The effort dovetails with DOE's interagency work to address the potential impacts of operating wind turbines on defense and civilian radar systems through the Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation Working Group.


Topics: Associations / Organizations, Environmental Firms, Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Trends and Statistics, Technology, Urban Planning and Design, Utility and Power Plants, Wind Power

Companies: U.S. Department of Energy

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