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U.S. unveils interactive wind turbine map

Feb. 12, 2014 at 7:10 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said an interactive map showing the location of U.S. wind farms will help decisionmakers plan future projects.

The Interior Department and U.S. Geological Survey teamed up to develop an online interactive map showing the location of the estimated 47,000 onshore wind turbine locations in the country.

"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," Jewell said in a statement Tuesday.

Under a federal plan, the Interior Department is to issue permits for enough renewable energy projects to generate 20,000 megawatts of energy on public lands by 2020. Since 2009, 48 such projects have been approved. They'll add more than 13,000 MW to the nation's grid once they all come online.

Brenda Pierce, the wind map project's coordinator for the USGS, said the tool helps planners examine everything from migratory bird pathways to regional wind regimes.

"Building on the map and data set, 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," she said.

The map is available at http://eerscmap.usgs.gov/windfarm.

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