Wintry blasts blow away wind energy records

August 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

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August 26, 2013 – 8:38AM

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Peter Hannam

Peter Hannam

Carbon economy editor

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Macarthur Wind Farm in a spin. Photo: Damian White

Blustery late-winter weather across south-eastern Australia combined with the addition of new wind farms have blown away records for wind energy supply.

In the week beginning August 11, wind farms supplied a record 290 gigawatt-hours to the National Electricity Market, which serves the eastern states and much of South Australia. That tally smashed the previous record of 246 gigawatt-hours set in the week starting June 30 by 18 per cent, according to Brett Gebert, chief executive of IES, a consultancy and software firm.

Wind energy’s share of the NEM was also a record at 7.6 per cent, or enough to supply about 2.3 million homes, according to the Clean Energy Council.

“We starting to see some big results,” said Mark Bretherton, a spokesman for the council. “Just because it’s variable doesn’t mean you can’t use large amounts of wind power, and you can predict them a long way ahead of time.”

Wind farm output exceeded that of Victoria’s brown coal-fired Hazelwood power plant by 13 per cent for the week, and fell just 10 per cent short of NSW’s Bayswater black coal-fired plant, according to IES.

Wind farms supplied a record 10 per cent of the Victorian power needs, with the amount generated beating the previous high by 23 per cent, Mr Gebert said.

The addition of the new Macarthur Wind Farm was crucial to Victoria’s surge. The wind farm, the largest in the southern hemisphere, alone generated 48 gigawatt-hours of power for the week, or about one-sixth of the total, IES data showed.

SA’s wind farms met the equivalent of 48 per cent of the state’s power needs for the week.

Weekly output in Tasmania and NSW were also the second and third highest on record, respectively, as of August 17, based on a Sunday-Saturday week.


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