An advantage of being one of the windiest places on the planet is that the Tehachapi Mountains are home of one of the world’s biggest and most productive wind energy regions.
Harnessing winds rising from the heat of the Mojave Desert, nearly 5,000 turbines installed since the 1980s produce 1.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year — enough to provide for half a million people — without spending fuel or creating pollution.
The oldest turbines among nearly two dozen different kinds installed in the area produce energy measured in kilowatts. The most modern, standing more than 300 feet tall with blades more than 100 feet long, can generate up to 3 megawatts.
One of the key investments in Tehachapi’s wind energy industry was Southern California Edison’s construction of the Tehachapi Renewable Energy Project, a transmission line completed in 2016. It greatly expanded the Tehachapi-Mojave Wind Resource Area’s capacity for exporting energy to Southern California.