In celebration of Global Wind Day, the Clean Energy Council says it recognises the vital role that wind plays in Australia’s energy mix.
It remains the cheapest source of large-scale renewable energy, and Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton says that the continued investment in wind energy should be encouraged as Australia emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Wind energy presents an enormous opportunity for Australia as we transition from carbon-emitting fossil fuels,” Thornton says.
“Over the last decade, we’ve seen South Australia transform itself by dumping coal and truly embracing wind as part of its energy mix and set the standard in terms of what can be achieved. There’s undoubtedly more that can be done with the right transmission line infrastructure investment.
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“Now, we see Western Australia take up the challenge and harness its clean energy resources with wind.”
Last year was the sector’s best-ever year as 837 MW of new capacity was installed across eight new wind farms. And for the first time, wind overtook hydro as Australia’s leading clean energy source, accounting for more than 35 per cent of Australia’s renewable energy generation.
It now contributes 8.5 per cent of Australia’s total energy generation–a figure that’s doubled since 2014.
There are currently 28 large-scale wind farms either under construction or financially committed with a total capacity of 5GW and 4200 peak construction jobs.
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Wind energy has illustrated substantial direct and indirect financial benefits to regional and rural Australia, contributing to the social fabric of local communities and diversifying traditional agricultural economies. By the end of 2021, it’s estimated that $5 million will flow annually into regional and rural communities through Community Enhancement Funds alone.
“The growth in wind farm development comes at a critical time for our regional and rural economies, as they’ve been battered by long-term drought and over the last year, fire,” says Thornton.
“Not only are there enormous benefits for our environment as we lower our carbon emissions, but renewable energy can solidify communities, improve energy reliability and help save money on electricity.”