LOS ANGELES — As the world’s largest wind farm comes online and the first residents begin moving into the new building, the wind energy industry is making a big splash with a record $1,600 million wind farm that has been built to power more than 300,000 homes in the United States.
The facility, in southern California’s Mojave Desert, is the largest in the world to generate power using wind, and its operators said Thursday it will become the country’s biggest wind energy project.
Wind energy has become a key part of the energy mix in the U.S. and the world, helping to drive up U.N. climate targets and help push for policies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is a milestone for wind power in the country and the planet,” said Joe DeFranco, president and CEO of the California-based International Renewable Energy Agency, or IRENA.
“This project is a huge step forward in California wind power, the first in the nation.”
The wind farm, which will be completed by 2019, will provide about 3 percent of California’s power demand through the end of 2020.
California is one of the few states that has no renewable energy mandate, meaning the state can keep selling electricity to residents without any federal subsidies.
IRENA said Thursday that California will get about $3.6 billion of the wind farm’s $4.4 billion in cost.
The rest of the cost will come from federal taxes.
The $1 billion in federal tax credits is the first wind subsidy in California since the federal government’s Renewable Fuel Standard went into effect in January.
It provides an incentive for states to install wind turbines and other renewable energy technologies.
IRENA is also awarding about $600 million in tax credits to the U