Clean Power

Published on February 27th, 2014 | by Giles Parkinson


AGL Energy Wind Farms Operating At Nearly A 50% Capacity Factor!

February 27th, 2014 by  

Originally published on RenewEconomy.

AGL Energy says some of its wind farms in South Australia have been operating at nearly 50 per cent capacity factors in the past six months, a very high rating for a wind farm and higher than many coal-fired generators.

This graph included in AGL Energy’s December half accounts show that the 95MW Hallett 1 and 71MW Hallett 2 wind farms – both located near the village of the same name in the state’s mid north region – achieved capacity factors of 48 per cent and 49 per cent respectively from July 1 to December 30.

The other two Hallett wind farms in its portfolio also got capacity factors of 45 per cent and 40 per cent. Wind energy accounted for 27 per cent of the state’s electricity production in 2012/13, and may well increase this year based on this data.

In Victoria, the biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere, the newly completed 420MW Macarthur wind farm, reported a capacity factor of 34 per cent. This is still fairly solid, although it highlights the seasonal differential for the wind farm. A company spokesman was quoted in a local newspaper today saying its capacity factor in the month of August was more than 52 per cent, and more than 40 per cent in the September quarter.

agl generation


The data shows that 2,200MW Loy Yang A – the company’s biggest generator – ran at a capacity factor of 72 per cent, which appears low for a brown coal generator but may be explained by upgrades to various units. Torrens Island, the major gas-fired generator in South Australia, had a capacity factor of just 16 per cent.

Meanwhile, AGL Energy says it will begin construction of its 53MW solar PV farm at Broken Hill in June, the second part of its Solar Flagships project that has already seen it begin construction of a 102MW solar farm at Nyngan. Both projects will be completed in 2015, with Broken Hill due to be finished at the end of the year.

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About the Author

is the founding editor of, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.

  • More than 40% capacity factor is normal for offshore wind farms, but very rare for onshore wind. They must have a very good resource there.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    There is a trade-off… the higher capacity factor it is possible to get the higher it is the utilization of low wind speed. If wind turbine is optimized for high wind speeds, like in Denmark where there are frequent high wind speeds, the capacity factor is very low, less than 20 %. But if it is optimized to low wind speeds, then capacity factor can be high.

    Often it is best that in a wind farm, most wind turbines that are optimized for low wind speeds, but there are few that can operete also in high winds. This is the practice what they are using in Australia, as conditions are favorable.

    Capasity factor also depends on subsidy system. In Europe where there is a Feed-In-Tariff, it makes sense to optimize wind turbines for high wind speeds, because this way wind turbines can generate the most profit out of FIT. But in Australia, where there is different subsidy system, it is more profitable to optimize capacity factor and provide as stable as possible wind power into grid.

    It goes without saying, than Australian subsidy system is superior compared to European.

  • Will E

    All good news.
    What, if the years of energy production of wind turbines will be over 25 years and going to 50 years or 60, why not? room plenty down under for windfarms. clean and easy.
    Wind energy used to charge EV electric cars doubles the profit.

    • Wind + EVs — very underacknowledged awesome synergy.

    • JamesWimberley

      Up to now, repowering has meant complete replacement of early turbines of 100kw or so on low towers, as at Altamont in California and increasingly in Germany. It’s not obvious that the same will hold when today’s 2 MW turbines on 80m towers come to the end of their useful lives. The foundations, cabling and towers are expensive assets and likely reusable with only new nacelles and rotors. Many Victorian rail viaducts and tunnels are still in heavy use after 150 years, with some refits. A few Roman bridges are still in use.

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