US: The US Geological Survey has release the first publicly available interactive map and geo-dataset showing more than 47,000 onshore wind turbine locations and related information across the entire United States. The new tool is consistent with the goals of Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell’s Order (No. 3330) that was released in October to incorporate a landscape-level approach to development on public lands. “In making this critical information available to the public, the USGS has provided public agencies and private companies with a new tool to help guide smart landscape-level planning decisions that support domestic energy production while minimizing conflicts. 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,” said Secretary Jewell.
The wind turbine map, which includes turbines installed as of July 2013, was created by combining publicly available data sets from the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as well as other federal, state and local sources. USGS researchers also identified additional turbines not in those pre-existing databases and added them to the dataset and map. The locations of all turbines were visually verified using high-resolution imagery. The location of each turbine was verified to within plus or minus 10 meters, and its technical specifications were assigned based on the make and model. “Having wind turbine-level data available in this new format will improve scientists’ ability to study a number of factors associated with renewable energy development, including air wakes caused by the turbines, interactions between wind turbines and ground-based radar, and how wind facilities overlap with migratory bird flyways. Building on the map and dataset, the USGS will utilize research, modeling and monitoring data to develop a quantitative methodology to assess the potential impacts associated with the widespread development of wind energy on wildlife,” said Brenda Pierce , USGS Energy Resources Program Coordinator.