Humboldt State University

Schatz Energy Research Center

Bear River Ridge Wind Project Visualization


The contents of this page depict an approximation of the proposed Shell Wind project on Bear River Ridge, a project which Shell has abandoned. The animation and 3D model of the wind farm were created by SERC staff and are for educational purposes only. Images of the 25 wind turbines and their locations were based on publicly available information from the Humboldt County Bear River Wind Project website and were created without any input from Shell Wind.

Take a Google Earth Tour

See a precompiled video of the Bear River Ridge Tour. The red strip that surrounds the towers is there to make it easier to see their location from far away. To see the video in the highest resolution, watch in full screen mode by clicking the “expand” icon in the bottom right corner of the embedded YouTube video.

Explore on your own

If you wish to see for yourself how the wind farm will appear from any particular location, you can download the following file which requires you have Google Earth installed on your computer:

Google Earth Icon Bear River Ridge Wind Project and Tour.kmz

If you don’t have Google Earth, click here to download (it’s free!). If you need some help with navigation, click here for a video tutorial on how to navigate with Google Earth.


Before you check out the views of the wind farm on Bear River Ridge, please make sure the “Show terrain” box is checked AND the “Elevation exaggeration” setting is set to 1. Otherwise, you will not have a realistic view of the turbines in relation to the size of the hills on Cape Mendocino. To adjust these settings, go to:

To see a “ground-level” perspective in Google Earth, you can enter “ground-level view” mode (only in Google Earth 6+) by completely zooming in on your point of interest (keep double clicking on your vantage point). When you are close enough, the mode will automatically change and you can look around by clicking and dragging. Important, you may need to exit “Street-view” mode by clicking on the building icon in the top right of the window. When you are finished with this vantage point, click “Exit ground-level view” to get back to the regular Google Earth mode.

For earlier versions of Google Earth, first zoom in on the location from which you wish to view the wind farm. Then hold down “shift” while you click and drag the map. This will allow you to tilt and pan the view. Make sure that your vantage is truly from the ground by comparing the “Eye altitude” to the “Elevation” in the bar at the bottom of the window. Make sure that your eye altitude is reasonably close to the land elevation (within 5 meters), otherwise you will be viewing the scenery as if you were floating above the ground.


The 3D model of the wind turbines is based on a model from the Google Sketchup 3D Warehouse:

The turbine was scaled to have an 80m hub height and then placed in the 25 locations cited in the public documents related to the permitting of the Shell Wind project on Bear River Ridge:

The KMZ file also contains a representation of the Doppler Radar tower on Bear River Ridge. The white sphere in the image is correctly sized to the ball on the tower, but the actual height of the ball is a rough approximation (its height was assumed to be 60ft).

Finally, a red polygon surrounds the strip of turbines to make it easier to see them from a distance. A yellow polygon (not visible by default) represents an approximate one mile radius surrounding the turbines.