It’s hard to think of Palm Springs without thinking about the iconic windmills that greet you as you drive into town.
But honestly, how much do you really know about them? Personally, I knew NOTHING. Literally, I’ve called this city home for years but knew little to nothing about our unofficial mascot. UNTIL, I went on one of the Palm Springs Windmill Tours.
Here’s a little background if you’ve never heard of these peeps before. Palm Springs Windmill Tours is the only tour that takes you INSIDE the wind farm fences, so you know they’re legit. It’s about a 2 hour tour where you learn all there is to know about windmills and how they work. BONUS, at the end you’re treated to a delicious date shake (you can’t visit the valley without having one of those).
I knew I couldn’t go on this tour without Linda (she’s a big fan of these giant windmills) and Palm Springs Windmill Tours was kind enough to invite us to spend some time with them. $1,000 for anyone who can guess how many questions Linda asked lol (here’s a hint, A LOT). But all jokes aside this tour is a must for locals and visitors alike.
And while you learn LOADS more on the tour, here’s 5 fun facts about these ginormous dudes.
1. Ever wonder why some windmills are going and others aren’t?
YES! All the time, I was so confused. I’ve got answers people! There could be a few things at play. First, you need wind blowing at 7-10 mph to make the windmill turn. In some areas you could have strong winds and in others it could be calm as could be. On really windy days the machines shut down because the wind is too fast.
Some other reasons for why some are spinning and others aren’t include: technical issues, old age (lol) or the grid operator doesn’t have any use for the power and there’s nowhere to store it. BOOM, how’s that for a knowledge bomb?
2. There’s more than 2,000 of these windmills in the valley.
But there used to be even more! Back in the day there were about 4-5 thousand of these bad boys. But as the years go by and technology improves, the windmills are becoming larger and more powerful. Therefore they can produce more energy, AKA you need less windmills to do the work. In the coming years the valley could see an even larger decrease down to just a few hundred of these guys.
3. The Coachella Valley is home to the oldest wind farm in the country.
The windmills moved to town in the 1980s and have now solidified themselves as the Palm Springs welcome committee. After the first windmills came to the area (we’re such trend setters) the rest of the country followed suit. There are now more than 58,000 wind turbines in the country. WOWWWWWW THAT’S A LOT!
4. Some of these giant windmills are hundreds of feet tall with a diameter of roughly the size of a football field (WHAT?!?!).
Crazy huh? But not totally hard to imagine after you’ve stood beneath one of them and craned your neck high to the sky to see the top.
5. In California, 6.2 percent of the electricity generated by in-state power plants came from wind farms.
Pretty cool huh? And get this, in 2017 our windmills produced 1.5 million megawatt hours. Each windmill has the ability to power 1,000 homes at any given time.
Want to learn more about these gentle giants?
Check out my girl Anndee’s Wander List video from the Palm Springs Windmill Tours wind farm. It’s full of beautiful shots and tons of windmill facts.
WANT TO GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH THE WINDMILLS?
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Spending an afternoon learning about a pretty prominent part of our backyard was certainly time well spent. I feel like I walked away with TONS of information and an even greater respect for the windmills that wave hi every time I drive by.
I hope you consider checking out the tour!