BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The federal Interior Department and U.S. Geological Survey have teamed up to produce the nation's first publicly available interactive map and database of all onshore wind turbines.
The map shows turbines installed as of July 2013 - more than 47,000 sites.
"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," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement.
The wind turbine map was created by combining publicly available data sets from the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as well as other federal, state and local sources. USGS researchers also identified additional turbines that weren't in those pre-existing databases and added them to the dataset and map. The locations of all turbines were visually verified.
"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," said USGS Energy Resources Program Coordinator Brenda Pierce, who led the two-year project.
Wind turbines are prevalent throughout the Dakotas - South Dakota has 474 turbines and North Dakota 994, according to the American Wind Energy Association. South Dakota ranks 19th in the nation and North Dakota ranks 11th.
Wind turbine map: http://eerscmap.usgs.gov/windfarm/