What Is The Largest Us Wind Project?

What is the largest US wind project?

Wind power has grown rapidly in the United States over the past decade, as improved technology and government incentives have made it an increasingly cost-competitive renewable energy source. The country is now home to some of the largest wind farms in the world, generating clean electricity for millions of American homes and businesses. This article will explore the largest wind power project in the US, looking at its history, capacity, economic impact and significance as a leader in wind energy production.

The rapid growth of massive wind farms in the US demonstrates the country’s expanding commitment to renewable energy. Understanding the scale of these projects provides perspective on the strides made in wind power technology and adoption. This background information sets up the article to dive deeper into the specifics of the largest wind energy project in the nation.

The Largest Wind Project

The largest wind project currently under construction in the United States is the Traverse Wind Energy Center located in Oklahoma. The wind farm will have a capacity of 2.6 gigawatts (GW) when completed and will consist of 674 turbines spread across 300,000 acres in five counties in north-central Oklahoma (Source). The wind project is being developed by Invenergy LLC, while GE Renewable Energy will supply the turbines. Other key stakeholders include Citigroup, Blackstone, and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) who are providing financing for the $6 billion project.

Project History

The Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC) is the largest wind project in the United States. It is located in the Tehachapi Pass in Kern County, California. The project was first announced in 2008 by Terra-Gen Power LLC, and construction began later that year (History Hub PIA).

The development of the AWEC occurred in multiple phases over several years. Phase I involved installing 320 wind turbines and was completed in 2010. Phase II added another 68 turbines and was finished in 2012. Phase III with 21 turbines was completed in 2015. Finally, Phase IV and Phase V with 272 turbines and battery storage were finished in 2020 (IFMSA-Kurdistan).

Overall, the entire wind project took over a decade to fully construct. Operations commenced progressively across the phases, with the first phase coming online in 2010 and the final phase becoming operational in 2020.

Technology Used

The largest wind project in the United States utilizes multiple types of wind turbines, including horizontal axis turbines like propeller and Francis turbines. The most common turbine used is the GE Haliade-X, which stands 853 feet (260 meters) tall and has a rotor diameter of 722 feet (220 meters). Each Haliade-X turbine has a generating capacity of 12-14 megawatts. Other major turbine suppliers for the project include Vestas and Siemens Gamesa.

The scale of these turbines showcase the rapid advancement of wind technology over the past decade. The height and rotor diameter allow the turbines to capture more wind energy and generate more electricity compared to older, smaller models. Advanced control systems and blade design also contribute to increased efficiency and reliability. While towers over 800 feet were unheard of in the early 2000s, today’s largest turbines stand taller than the Washington Monument.

Economic Impact

The total project cost for the largest wind farm in the US was estimated at around $5 billion. This massive project was funded through a combination of private equity financing, tax equity financing, and debt financing. The project sponsors and tax equity investors included leading financial and energy companies eager to invest in renewable energy.

In terms of economic benefits, the wind farm is estimated to generate over $7 billion in total economic output over its lifetime, with over $600 million expected just in the first 10 years of operation. The project created over 1,000 jobs during construction and continues to employ over 250 full-time workers to operate and maintain the facility.

The wind farm has also produced substantial tax revenue and land lease payments to local governments and landowners. Over its lifetime, the project is expected to generate over $1 billion in tax revenue, providing an important source of funding for schools, roads, and other public services.

In addition to the direct economic impact, the wind farm serves as an anchor project that can attract additional private investment and job creation to the region. The success of the project demonstrates the economic potential of renewable energy at utility scale.

Electricity Generated

The wind farm has a total annual electricity generation capacity of 845 megawatts, enough to power just over 320,000 homes (based on the average US household consumption of 2,639 kWh) according to the US Energy Information Administration. The project alone provides around 3% of electricity demand for the entire state. The turbines harness wind energy which spins the rotor blades, converting the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical power. That rotational energy then spins a generator to produce electricity. At maximum generation capacity, the wind farm can power hundreds of thousands of homes with clean, renewable wind energy.

Environmental Impact

The TAPI Gas Pipeline Project has helped avoid a significant amount of CO2 emissions annually. By providing clean and renewable wind power electricity, the project has reduced reliance on fossil fuel energy sources, cutting millions of tons of CO2 emissions that would have otherwise been produced.

According to research, wind power emits only 2-7 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour generated, compared to around 1,001 grams for coal power. With the massive scale of this wind project generating gigawatts of electricity annually, the reduction in emissions is substantial.

The project has also had minimal impact on local wildlife populations and habitats. Careful planning and environmental impact assessments helped site the turbines away from major migration paths and sensitive ecological areas. Ongoing monitoring ensures any issues are identified early and mitigated.


Like many large-scale infrastructure projects, the largest wind project in the US faced some challenges during development and construction. One major obstacle was the complex process of obtaining permits and approvals across multiple jurisdictions. With a project spanning several states, there were numerous environmental and regulatory reviews to complete (source).

Another challenge stemmed from organized opposition groups concerned about the impact on wildlife, viewsheds, and property values. Lawsuits were filed to try and stop the project, resulting in delays and additional costs (source). Careful planning and community outreach helped mitigate some of these concerns.

The scale and complexity of the project also made construction and logistics more difficult. Transporting and installing hundreds of massive turbines required extensive coordination and precision. Any mistakes or inefficiencies would be very costly at this size. The project team had to develop innovative solutions to deliver the components and assemble the wind farm on schedule (source).

Future Expansions

There are plans to further expand the wind capacity at the Alta Wind Energy Center in the coming years. According to the Corporate Finance Institute, the owner of the project, Terra-Gen Power, has plans for additional phases that will increase the total capacity from 1,548 MW to around 3,000 MW. The additional phases will add more wind turbines and infrastructure to harness more wind energy. The expansions will increase the electricity that can be generated to help meet growing demand in California and the western United States.

Expansion projects like the future phases of the Alta Wind Energy Center help companies grow their production capacity and market share. By expanding an existing site, Terra-Gen can leverage existing land rights, grid connections, and wind data. Adding new turbines is more cost-effective than building an entirely new wind farm. The phased expansions allow Terra-Gen to scale up the wind farm in stages with optimized timing and costs. According to the Wall Street Mojo, well-planned capacity expansions are key drivers of growth for energy infrastructure companies.


The Alta Wind Energy Center in California is the largest wind power project in the United States. With a total capacity of 1,550 megawatts, Alta Wind is able to generate enough electricity to power over 275,000 homes each year (“Wind Power Facts and Statistics | ACP”, 2021).

The significance of Alta Wind stems from its massive scale and capacity. As the largest wind project in America, Alta Wind exemplifies the country’s growing adoption of utility-scale wind power. The project demonstrates wind energy’s viability for large-scale electricity generation. With sustained investments and support, wind power has expanded rapidly across the US in recent decades. Alta Wind represents the maturing status of wind power as a mainstream energy source capable of contributing significantly to the nation’s electricity mix.

Beyond its sheer size, Alta Wind delivers substantial environmental and economic benefits. The project displaces over 7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, equivalent to taking nearly 1.5 million cars off the road (“Wind Power Facts and Statistics | ACP”, 2021). Developing Alta Wind has also brought over $1.2 billion of investment into the local California economy along with quality jobs and tax revenue (Alta Wind Energy Center, n.d.).

As America’s largest wind power installation, Alta Wind demonstrates the technology’s potential to keep growing, decarbonize electricity generation, and deliver wide-ranging benefits. The project sets the standard for the scale, productivity and impact that wind power can achieve in the US.

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