Graph: Australian Wind Farms Break Record

Originally posted on Renew Economy by Sophie Vorrath

In our Graph of the Day on Monday, we looked again at the record-breaking week of August 10-18 for wind energy in Australia.

As it turns out, the entire month of August 2013 was a record breaker, all round – for the National Electricity Market (NEM), and for the individual states of South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and NSW.

As the graph below shows, NEM demand generated by wind in the month of August reached a record high of 8 percent (up from 5.7% in July), while in South Australia, demand generated by wind during hit a smashing new high of 37.9 percent, up from 31.2 percent in August last year.

Tasmania notched up a record 11 percent of demand generated by wind (up from 7.5% in July), NSW hit a new high of 1.8 percent (up from 1.5% in August 2012) and Victoria reached 7.9 percent (up from 5.4% in July) which is enough to power the stadium lights at the Melbourne Cricket Ground continuously for the next 44 years, the Clean Energy Council says.

Wholesale wind power generation in Australia -- GigaWatt-hours/month. Image courtesy of RenewEconomy.au
Wholesale wind power generation in Australia — GigaWatt-hours/month. Image courtesy of RenewEconomy.au

All up, the Clean Energy Council says Australia’s wind farms generated 1024 gigawatt-hours in August. And according to the CEC’s infographic below, that is enough wind generated energy to make more than 6 billion (6,144,000,000) toasted sandwiches using your average sandwich press — enough for each person on Earth. Pretty handy. Here’s what else it could do…

Australia Clean Energy Council infographic. Image courtesy of CleanEnergyCouncil.org.au
Australia Clean Energy Council infographic. Image courtesy of CleanEnergyCouncil.org.au

This article, Graph: Australian Wind Farms Break Record, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

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100% of new Australian power plants are Wind or Solar

By Giles Parkinson  — Special to JBS News

This article originally published on RenewEconomy

The rapidly changing nature of Australia’s coal-fired electricity grid has been highlighted by a new report from the Australian Energy Market Operator, which reports that all new electricity generation proposals received in the last 12 months have been either for large scale wind farms or solar facilities.

In its annual assessment of Energy market opportunities (known in the industry as ESOO, or Electricity Statement of  Opportunities), AEMO notes the pivotal of renewable energy sources in the National Electricity Market, and in particular, the influence of rooftop solar.

In the past year, the building out of residential rooftop solar totaled 774MW across the NEM (which includes the eastern states and South Australia, but excludes WA, the Northern Territory, Mt Isa, and other isolated networks). Solar analysts expect a similar amount of rooftop solar to be installed in 2013/14, despite the removal of most subsidies.

This compares with 522.7MW of new large-scale generation that came online in 2012/13, most of which (439.5MW) came new wind energy facilities — including the 420MW Macarthur wind farm in Victoria), along with 60MW from a coal plant expansion and 39MW from two co-generation and landfill gas facilities.

Of the 1,000MW of new generation committed (but not yet completed) in the past 12 months, AEMO says that 945.5MW came from six new wind farm projects, and a further 45.5MW from new solar generation (including the Kogan Creek solar booster in Queensland) and the Mildura concentrated solar (CSP) demonstration plant in Victoria.

Over the same time frame, some 770MW of capacity at the Tarong black coal power plant in Queensland has been mothballed, as well as the 170MW Collinsville power station, which is trying to reinvent itself as a solar/gas hybrid plant. This adds to other retirements including the Playford B power station in Port Augusta and the seasonal retirement of the neighbouring Northern power station.

Indeed, AEMO confirmed that there was no need for any new thermal (fossil fuel) generation in Australia to be built for at least another decade – the one exception being under its medium growth rate scenario in Queensland, and for some modest requirements in other states in the high growth scenario.

It said this was because of the increase in rooftop solar PV, the reduction in demand caused by the consumer response to rising electricity prices, and the development of large-scale renewables under the Renewable Energy Target.

This fits with the recent assessment by AGL Energy that some 9,000MW of baseload generation was surplus to requirements because of reduced demand. That is equivalent to nearly one third of the entire baseload capacity within the NEM.

The latest AEMO assessment is sure to be seized upon by opponents of the RET as a reason to water it down, or remove it altogether. The opponents also claim that reducing the RET will ease pressure on consumers, but this is contradicted by AGL Energy, the Climate Change Authority, and more recent analyses by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Reputex.

One thing that everyone does agree on is that more renewables will reduce the revenues and profits of coal and gas-fired generators. It will even accelerate the closure and mothballing of some coal-fired generators.

About the Author

is the founding editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia’s energy grid with great interest.
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