Wind energy supplies 83pc of South Australia’s electricity

Snowtown Wind Farm
Snowtown Wind Farm

Extreme weather conditions across Australia’s south-east have helped wind energy to deliver more than two-thirds of South Australia’s electricity over the weekend, and even higher levels on Monday.

Wind turbines provided a huge 83 per cent of the state’s power needs in the 24 hours to 4pm on July 11.

While thousands of people were without power due to downed power lines, Clean Energy Council policy manager Alicia Webb said large amounts of wind power were one positive side effect of sever winter weather.

“The state now has 683 turbines, which have generated more than $6 billion of investment and hundreds of jobs in regional communities – as well as lots of renewable energy,” she said.

“It is clear that modern economies can run on increasingly higher levels of renewable energy, and it is clear from South Australia’s example that other mainland states can go much further with no loss of reliability. New technologies such as battery storage are falling in price, and will act as a perfect complement to smooth out the supply of renewable energy in the future.”

It was at around this time last year when wind energy provided a record output for a single day in Australia of more than 70,000MWh – or 13.5 per cent of average national demand across the whole day.

Wind energy had its biggest month in Australia just this past May, according to Reneweconomy during which time wind power supply in South Australia managed to exceed local demand for more than 10 hours on one Sunday, with a peak, at one point, of 120 per cent of demand.

Ms Webb said it was well documented that wind power acts to keep power prices lower when the wind is blowing, although the volatile price of gas has been acting to increase the price of generating power across the state.

“Australia has committed to national emission reduction targets as part of the climate agreement negotiated in Paris last year, and renewable energy such as wind power will play an important role in cutting pollution from the power sector,” she said.