Wind Energy Just Had A Big Week In Australia

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(See also our update on how wind energy met 91 per cent of demand in South Australia on Wednesday morning).

It’s been a big week for wind energy. First was the admission by Tony Abbott’s modellers that the renewable energy target as is will reduce electricity bills, and that the target could be met. Then there was Clive Palmer’s vow of support from his three Senators.

It’s also been very windy. So much so, that for a period of more than three days, wind energy in South Australia has provided two-thirds of total generation in the state. Over that period, nearly all the wind farm’s in the state have been operating at full capacity, as these graphs from NEM-Watch” show.

Hugh Saddler, from Pitt&Sherry, says that in South Australia, wind contributed an average 64 per cent generation over the three days from Monday to Wednesday. Coal was relegated to just 9 per cent.

wind SA June

Across the National Electricity Market, which extends from South Australia and from Tasmania to Queensland, Saddler says wind generated 11 per cent of electricity across t for the 72 hours from Monday to Wednesday, lifting the share of renewables to 22 per cent (not including rooftop solar) and relegating the share of black and brown coal to just 65 per cent.

These figures include Queensland, which has negligible wind generation and very little hydro.  Shares of renewable generation across the four south-eastern states would have been higher – at 14 per cent wind, and 28 per cent renewables for the three days. 

wind nem

(See also our update on how wind energy met 91 per cent of demand in South Australia on Wednesday morning).

Source: RenewEconomy. Reproduced with permission.

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Giles Parkinson

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.

Giles Parkinson has 596 posts and counting. See all posts by Giles Parkinson

6 thoughts on “Wind Energy Just Had A Big Week In Australia

    • They actually predicted gas prices to drop out till 2016 which is the complete opposite of what markets predict and common sense suggests. But, a fall in gas prices is not technically impossible. After all, a meteorite could blow up Australia’s Liquid Natural Gas export facilities resulting in a glut in the domestic market. Sure, that’s not very likely, but it could happen. What was an even more amusing example of dishonesty was the assumption that Australian coal plants, which already average over 30 years of age, could continue operating for another 75+ years giving them an average operating lifespan of over 105 years. Suffice to say both historical evidence and the condition of our existing plants goes against this idea. I suppose it is possible that Australia’s coal plants could be hit by dark matter meteorites that have an anti-entropic effect and restore them to pristine condition every couple of decades, but I really don’t think that’s very likely.

      • I love the meteorite assumption 🙂

    • Just one more tweak and the models can show the PV and wind is not a good idea. Add in the 10%/year cost increase in new installation and a 50%/year increase in PV/wind fuel cost. 😉

      • In Australia there is a windfall tax. I wonder if it is a tax that is aimed for taxing the wind? And of course tax rates are increasing over time!

        • Well no, the windfall taxes were bit of slight of hand where state taxes that were deemed unconstitiutional were turned into Commonwealth taxes which were then paid back to the states. Nothing to do with actual wind. As for tax rates increasing over time, they don’t in Australia. Taxation has been pretty constant at around 24% of GDP over the past few decades. It’s about 24% now, 20 years ago it was about 26%.

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