How Wind Energy In Los Angeles Helps The Environment

Last year, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in conjunction with General Electric, went forward with a 120 megawatt wind farm, named the Pine Tree Wind Project. It is supposed to ultimately satisfy 20 percent of the utility's energy demands. Back in 2004, wind energy in the whole state of California produced more than 4,200 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, about 1.5 percent of all electricity generated.

About 95 percent of all of the state's wind generating apparatus is located in three areas: Altamont Pass, San Gorgonio and Tehachapi. Wind power plants are comprised of turbines that take advantage of the energy in wind motion to make mechanical energy, which is then changed into electrical energy. Wind turbines can be placed near farms, homes and businesses in windy locations, such as along the Los Angeles coast. Turbines can also be used in areas where it isn't cost-efficient to place power lines.

The parts of a wind farm include turbines, distribution through an underground power conduit and a connection from the farm to the closest power grid. Wind power is more accessible in certain seasons because the time of year affects wind speed. In Los Angeles, speeds are highest in the sweltering summer period.

An estimated three-quarters of all yearly wind power is generated during the spring and summer. Though power produced by old generation wind turbines is not as cost effective as some other forms of energy generation, newer wind turbine designs should be able to compete with power costs from nuclear and coal plants. Some advantages in utilizing wind energy include: non-deployment of polluting conventional power plants; no pollution in the air, soil or water; it is completely renewable; the installment is relatively quick; and power production not swayed by gas and oil price increases. However, there are some issues with wind power, such as: the required use of extensive areas of land, albeit the fact that simultaneous land uses are available for such tasks as agriculture and cattle grazing. Other potential concerns are that it can cause erosion in desert areas, and disturb wildlife habitats.

Matt Paolini is an energy writer} for, the family-safe online yellow pages, which carries an extensive directory on Los Angeles environmental equipment and supplies.


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