The Historic Victory Garden Wind Power Generating Facility Background
The approximately 900 acre Victory Garden wind energy facility began production in 1981 and has maintained continuous operation ever since. The facility is located about 6 miles south east of Tehachapi, California at 5,000 feet elevation and was the first to deliver commercial wind energy to Southern California Edison.
The property was identified and obtained by Wind Stream beginning in 1981. The wind energy development rights were acquired by Zond Systems, Inc., which developed and operated the project. In the late 1990s Enron Corp. acquired Zond, and when Enron went bankrupt the wind projects were acquired by AES, Nextera Energy, Terra-GenPower, and others. General Electric Company (“GE”) acquired the turbine manufacturing portion of the company. Wind Stream now owns, operates and is in the process of rehabilitating the Historic Victory Garden turbines and facility.
The wind project provides steady employment for on site technicians in addition to off site service providers. It also contributes significant taxes to Kern County as well as to the state.
Victory Garden is the site of several landmark developments in wind energy:
• One of the earliest continuously operating commercial wind energy projects in the world.
• The first European turbines commercially installed and operated in the United States.
• The first large variable pitch regulated turbines in North America.
• The site of the first U.S. manufactured large turbine, the 500 kW Zond Z-40.
• The first large variable speed constant frequency turbine, the Zond Z-750.
• The first mega watt size turbine in North America, the GE 1.5 mw.
• The first GE multi megawatt, the GE 2.85.
• One of the earliest continuously operating wind turbine operations buildings.
• The first wind turbine blade fatigue test facility in the Americas.
Victory Garden Development and History
The first commercial wind turbines installed in 1981 and early 1982 were 25 kilowatt (“kw”) models, followed by 40 kw units. The first larger European turbines of 65 kW were installed in 1982; the original historic Victory Garden site was build out to over 500 turbines or the 65 and 90 kW size by the end of 1985. These turbines were of a configuration referred to as fixed pitch stall regulated. The pitch of the blade is fixed. The maximum power from the rotor is controlled by the aerodynamic stalling of the blade due to its shape and twist. Stall regulation can be utilized on turbines up to about 120kw size.
Subsequently larger turbines were installed, with the maximum power is regulated by pitching the blades. The first variable pitch units, the European Vestas 225 kW units were installed in 1989.
Wind economies of scale drove the technology to larger size turbines. In the early 1990s the largest at the time U.S. made unit, the Z-40 was installed on Victory Garden.
Larger still turbines were developed with a technological breakthrough of a variable speed operation with constant frequency output (“VSCF”) in addition to variable pitch control. This configuration provided maximum power control electronically in milliseconds as compared with the pitch control’s several seconds. The Zond 750 turbine with VSCF was developed and deployed in the late 1990s.
Greater economies of scale were gained with the still larger turbine size, so called megawatt size. The first of these turbines, the 1.5 megaWatt (“MW”) turbine was installed at Victory Garden in the early 2000s. It and its larger cousins have become the workhorse of the wind power industry in the Americas and Europe.
Currently operating wind turbines at Historic Victory Garden:
GE 2.85 MW capacity 103 meter rotor diameter, 2013
GE’s largest multi megawatt turbine, US made.
GE 1.7 MW capacity, 100 meter rotor diameter, 2013
Upgrade of the GE 1.5 fist mw size turbine in the US,
Manufactured in Tehachapi
Zond 750 kW capacity, 50 meter rotor diameter, ~ 1999
First VSCF large turbine, made in Tehachapi.
Zond 550 kW capacity, 40 meter rotor diameter, ~ 1994
First large variable pitch made in Tehachapi
Vestas 225 kW capacity, 27 meter rotor diameter, ~ 1989
First wind investment by Florida Power and Light (now Nextera), with Zond
Vestas 90 kW capacity, 17 meter rotor diameter, ~ 1987
Deployment by Zond
Made in Denmark
Vestas 65 kW capacity, 15 meter rotor diameter, ~ 1983
First large scale imported turbine deployment
1982-1985 by Zond
Wind Stream rehabilitating electronic controls
Smallest turbines (decommissioned and removed)
Stormmaster 40 kW, 10 meter rotor diameter, ~ 1982
Designed with DoE research grants, made in San Diego
Carter 25 kW, 6 meter rotor diameter, ~ 1981
Designed for ranch or farm, made in Texas
Electrical Grid Connections
GE 2.85 and GE 1.7 connect via 32kV to 230kV transformation, 230 kV transmission line to the SCE’s Wind Hub substation on Oak Creek Road, Mojave.
All other Wind Stream turbines connect via a 12kv to 66kv transformation, 66kv interconnect with Wind Stream’s Zondwind and Ridgeline substations on site.