Storm smashes wind energy records

June 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

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According to the Clean Energy Council’s latest annual report, wind power from Australia’s 68 wind farms supplied about 4 per cent of total demand last year.

South Australia is home to about 37 per cent of the country’s wind farms – hence the surge of supply on Monday evening as the storm system headed eastwards on its way to Melbourne and then Sydney.

Satellite image of Tuesday’s storm as it moved over Victoria. Photo: BoM

Tuesday’s total wind supply for the four states fell only slightly shy of Monday’s total, Dr Saddler said.

Renewable energy is a hotly debated topic in Canberra, with a handpicked government panel now considering whether to weaken or scrap the mandatory Renewable Energy Target (RET).  

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said the RET is costly to households, although research commissioned by the review panel indicates consumers will actually benefit after 2020 if more renewable energy is added to supply.

Hydro power plants were also operating at high levels on Monday, particularly in Tasmania. As a result, the total renewable share of demand reached nearly 44 per cent during the 6 pm trading Interval across the four states – also likely to be a record, Dr Saddler said.

Peak reached?

Preliminary figures also indicate that Monday was the peak winter day for power demand in the four states so far this winter, Dr Saddler said.

“The winter peaks nearly always occur during the last two weeks of June and the first two weeks of July, on wet and windy evenings, so if we don’t get another day like (Tuesday) in the next three weeks, that could be the winter peak for the year,” he said. 

“The numbers are quite a bit below last winter’s peaks for NSW, Victoria and South Australia,” he said.

Electricity demand has been falling in recent years as big industrial users such as the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter close. Consumers have also responded to higher electricity prices by cutting demand and also taking up more energy-efficient appliances. 


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