It generally surprises people when they learn Texas is the biggest producer of wind power. I mean, don’t Texans bathe in crude oil while foaming at the mouth about renewable energy? Well, actually, no. Texas has always been smart about energy. They import no electricity because they generate all they need. So, say you’re a Texas rancher who thinks treehuggers are silly. Then the nice man from the wind power company says we’ll pay you a tidy sum if we can put wind turbines on land you aren’t really using much. Will you say, Hell yeah! Well of course you will.
Wind speeds vary throughout the United States. Wind speeds also vary throughout the day and from season to season. In Tehachapi, California, the wind blows more frequently from April through October than it does in the winter. This is a result of the extreme heat of the Mojave Desert during the summer months. The hot air over the desert rises, and the cooler, denser air above the Pacific Ocean rushes through the Tehachapi mountain pass to take its place. In a state like Montana, the wind blows more frequently during the winter.
Fortunately, the seasonal variations in California and Montana match the electricity demands of the regions. In California, people use more electricity during the summer for air conditioners. In Montana, people use more electricity during the winter.
Wind power projects with one or more large wind turbines were located in 39 states in 2014. The five states with the largest generation of electricity from wind in 2014 were Texas, Iowa, California, Oklahoma, and Kansas.