In a literal sense, renewable energy fills the air of the Tehachapi Mountains.
It rises as wind from the Mojave Desert to power one of the largest and most productive wind-energy investments on the planet.
The series of wind farms known as the Tehachapi-Mojave Wind Resource Area consists of more than 5,000 turbines in a wide variety of sizes.
Tehachapi’s tallest giants would have been the end of poor Don Quixote. The latest additions rise more than 300 feet. With blades measuring more than 100 feet, these turbines can generate up to 3 megawatts each.
Wind energy took root in the area during the 1980s in large part because it is one of the windiest places on earth. Without creating fuel or pollution, wind energy there puts out 1.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. That’s enough to provide for half a million people.
A key project that has contributed was Southern California Edison’s construction of the Tehachapi Renewable Energy Project. It was a transmission line that, when completed in 2016, expanded the Tehachapi area’s capacity for exporting energy to Southern California.
The projects have helped electric utilities meet the state’s drive for cleaner forms of energy. They join large photovoltaic solar installations nearby in helping make Kern County California’s leading producer of renewable energy.