Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Altamont Wind Farm

Location: Alameda County, California, US
Maximum Output: 576MW
Annual Power Generation 1.1TWh
No of Turbines: 4,930
Installation Date: 1981
Condition: Good to Poor

 The Altamont wind farm, constructed in the 1980’s was at one time the largest wind farm in the world in terms of capacity. This farm was well known by the sheer number of bird mortality at the site. The farm is now one of the oldest wind farms in the US.

The wind farm is composed of many small wind turbines which are regarded as old since the station was constructed a long time ago. Many of these turbines are being replaced with better efficient wind machined which need not to spin fast for power generation. 40kW, 65kW -100kW is the range of most turbines in the pass, installed on metal lattices, while the 100kW are on tubular concrete towers.

The Altamont Wind farm is owned by almost a dozen companies. During the installation date, no clear Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was done in terms of how the turbines would interact with the wildlife and the result was the deadliest wind farm in the world, in terms of avian mortality.
Though the Altamont is known for its powerful wind speed, it is an important bird migration route, and its green-grass covered hills provide food for many species for raptors. The raptors and the federally protected Golden Eagles are killed annually. 4700 of these birds meet their demise in the wind farm annually.

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