Wind Power in Australia  

Posted by Big Gav

WorldChanging has reported that the Global Wind Energy Council released figures showing that wind power added 7,976 megawatts to global power production in 2004, bringing the total to 47,317 megawatts - just over 47 gigawatts of wind power, worldwide. Germany ranks first in national wind capacity, at 16.6 GW, Spain second at 8.3 GW, and the US third at 6.7 GW. 72 percent of new wind installations in 2004 were in Europe, 16 percent in Asia, and only 6 percent in North America.

The Australian Wind Energy Association has compiled a list of proposed Wind Energy Projects in Australia.

While the installed base is currently quite small (mostly Pacific Hydro wind farms in Victoria), capacity almost doubled in the past 12 months and there are a much larger number of projects under construction or at the feasibility study stage.

Summary (all figures MW/h)
Currently Operating380
Under Construction355
Under Tender363
Planning Approved926
Feasibility4202
Total6225


The regional split actually makes sense, with 2254 Mw for windy, energy deficient SA and 1634 Mw for Victoria. Tasmania may well be exporting all their new wind power (565 Mw) through their new interconnector to the NEM.

The one surprise is that WA only has 264 Mw planned - given that its probably the windiest place on the planet and there are already problems with gas supplies and blackouts (which will no doubt be worsened when the new desalination plant comes online), I would have thought they'd be covering some of that arid coastline with windfarms.

If we look at this in terms of RECS, and make an assumption that we consistently get 20% of this wind generation capacity over time, this is about 1200 MW/h of green energy - which is more than the entire MRET target for 2010 (without even considering all the other renewable energy generators).

Assuming my calculations are correct, the government really needs to be looking at at least doubling the MRET target just to ensure that all this new renewable energy capacity is financially sound (even if we ignore all the other reasons why this must be done).

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