Wind reaches new heights in May

AGL's Hallett Wind Farms
AGL's Hallett Wind Farms

Wind energy in Australia has enjoyed its biggest ever month in May, producing nearly a quarter more electricity than its previous record month, and overtaking hydro to provide 8.5 per cent of electricity demand in the country’s main grid.

New analysis from energy consultants Pitt & Sherry points to how wind generation is keeping a lid on wholesale electricity prices.

The Pitt & Sherry analysis notes four states recorded record monthly totals in May – South Australia (where wind met 49 per cent of demand), Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. There is only one very small wind farm in Queensland and Western Australia operates on a separate grid.

The 3.9GW of wind generation in the month of May operated at a capacity factor of 49 per cent, meaning it produced 22 per cent more than it did in its previous record month (July, 2015).

South Australia has the biggest share of wind farms, with 1.5GW, and this accounted for 49 per cent of its electricityd emend in the month. On some occasions, wind energy provided more than 100 per cent of electricity demand in the state.

Wind energy also met 13 per cent of demand in Tasmania, 12 per cent in Victoria (nearly twice as much as hydro) and 4.8 per cent in NSW (also more than hydro). As a comparison, the capacity factor of the wind farms in the National Electricity Market in March was just 23 per cent.