South Australia Wind Energy: Here To Stay

South Australia wind energy and its power generation capacity are on the rise. This means a push in the direction of popularising renewables

Wind power has been shown to undercut the price of fossil fuels sans the correction of market failure in factoring carbon pollution costs. In 2013, South Australia wind energy from wind farms managed to fulfil 28% of electricity demand from consumers with 561 installed turbines with an overall capacity of 1205 MW.

Electricity generated from wind farm is now cheaper in Australia than energy from natural gas or coal, according to research from Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance (BENF). The depreciation of construction costs of power plants powered by coal from the 1970s and 1980s has caused them to lower their prices. Wind power has become cheaper than fossil fuels in Australia.

South Australia Wind Energy Costs Down, Fossil Fuel Costs Up

Even without carbon pricing – the most effective method in reducing country-wide greenhouse gas emissions – South Australia wind energy is still cheaper by 18% than gas and by 14% than coal. Wind farms can supply consumers with electricity at $80 per MWh, $63 less than the cost from a new coal-powered station and $36 less than the cost from a new gas plant. The costs of both wind power and solar photovoltaics (PV) have dropped by 10% and 29%, respectively, since 2011, contrasting the rising cost of new power plants fuelled by new fossils.

High costs of financing make new coal expensive. According to Bloomberg’s research, four of the largest banks in Australia are unlikely to agree to be financiers of new coal if a risk premium of substantial amount is not in place, the result of possible reputational damage caused by investments which are emissions-intensive. Coal prices, as well as that of natural gas, are predicted to rise over the next 20 years because of this apprehension over financing of new coal investments.

Providing Wind Energy to Over 1.3 Million Households

The fact that coal power utilises the most water than other energy sources makes it more expensive and, in a strange twist, because of the carbon emissions that coal releases, fresh water becomes a scarcity. In the U.S., there has been evidence that gas reserves would have peaked out within BNEF’s time frame analysis to render a boom in gas temporarily. Last year, Australian wind farms were able to generate more than a quarter of clean energy, sufficient to provide over 1.3 million households.

Additionally, wind power was able to supply 4% of the country’s overall electricity needs throughout the entire year of 2013. As of this date, the country has had 1,639 wind turbines installed, with 15 of them within South Australia wind energy farms alone.

Largest Operational Wind Farm in the Southern Hemisphere

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These South Australia wind energy turbines are located in 68 wind farms, with one small one in Australia’s Antarctic Territory. Around $1.5 billion of new wind power investments doubled in 2013. Six projects were online last year including the wind farm in Macarthur, Western Victoria, considered to be the largest operational wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Macarthur South Australia wind energy farm, developed by Meridian Energy and AGL, has a capacity of 420 MW, with 140 turbines producing an output which is twice the amount of competitor Collgar Wind Farm with a capacity of 206 MW. Waubra Wind Farm, in Acciona, meanwhile, has a 192 MW capacity and is third largest of all wind farm facilities in Australia

The Author

Motivated and dynamic journalist with a strong interest in sustainable solar powered technology. My work in journalism and new media has provided me with a medium to produce content concerning emerging renewable energy.

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