Australia’s main grid has posted a new record for wind output, after constraints that had previously capped the output of South Australia’s wind farms were apparently relaxed.
According to energy analyst Dylan McConnell, from the Climate and Energy College, a new record of 5,899MW of wind was recorded at around 4.50pm on Tuesday afternoon (see first graph).
This appears to beat to the previous record of 5,642MW, set in May this year, and comes after the output from South Australia soared to more than 1500MW (see second graph), well above the constraint of below 1300MW that operates most of the time.
There is no formal notice (at least that we can see) advising of relaxed constraints, but these were expected to be relaxed once new synchronous condensers began operation, removing the need to have gas generators operating at those times just to provide “synchronous” services to the grid.
“It’s not surprising, because July and August (and occasionally September) are usually the best months in terms of wind generation,” McConnell says. “I also suspect the record won’t last long – we’ll probably see it broken again in the next couple of months.”
South Australia currently has more than 2,050MW of large scale wind capacity – and more than 350MW of large scale solar – but this will grow significantly over the next year with the 320MW hybrid Port Augusta Renewable Energy Hub currently under construction, and the next stage of the 414MW Lincoln Gap wind farm.
The new constraints will allow up to 2,000MW of wind and solar to generate at any one time and are due to come in once the new syn-cons begin operation. This was originally due to occur in late May but is now scheduled at the end of July.
Australia’s biggest wind farm, the 530MW Stockyard Hill facility in Victoria, has now obtained registration for at least part of its capacity, and is allowed to generate up to 30MW at its first “hold point”, which is what it was generating when the wind output record was set.