The latest top ten performance rankings for Australian wind and solar farms has produced a few surprises, with one renewable energy operator particularly happy after the constraints that had shackled two of its key assets were finally shed.
According to data put together by David Dixon from Rystad Energy, the best performing grid-scale solar plant in Australia in the month of May (in terms of capacity factor) was the 52MW Broken Hill solar farm near the city of the same name in western NSW.
Broken Hill was one of five large scale solar farms that had their output cut in half by the Australian Energy Market Operator for more than seven months as newly identified “voltage oscillation” risks were identified. Once back with its full inverter capacity, Broken Hill topped the country rankings with a capacity factor of 24.6 per cent in the month of May.
That beat Genex Power’s Kidston solar farm (24.3 per cent), while 104MW Nyngan solar farm (23.7 per cent) another foundation asset of the Powering Australia Renewables Fund co-owned by AGL and QUIC, came in third and Neoen’s Parkes solar farm (22.1 per cent) in fourth.
The column on the left list the top ten solar farms in terms of capacity factor for the month of May, while the graph on there right plots the generation and the capacities of all the solar farms for the month of May. Those at the bottom right (or coloured red) are mostly those not yet in full production, or facing constraints in the case of Sun Metals.
In the wind division, PARF’s Silverton wind farm, also near Broken Hill, celebrated its much delayed milestone of reaching full output by coming in fourth with a capacity factor of 41.8 per cent.
The 200MW Silverton wind farm had suffered severe constraints, particularly during the day, but the issues were finally resolved around May 20. Indeed, it may well have topped the wind division had the final constraints been released at the start of the month.
As it turned out, the wind output was led by the Boco Rock wind farm in NSW (48 per cent) with the Badingarra wind farm in Western Australia (42.8 per cent) coming in second, and John Laing’s Kiata wind farm in Victoria (41.8 per cent) coming third, just pipping Silverton which had to be happy with fourth.
Dixon told RenewEconomy that the performance of Badgingarra was particularly impressive as the W.A. wind farms usually do best in summer, when they can reach monthly capacity factors of around 60 per cent.
But in the month of May, other W.A. wind farm Emu Downs, Denmark and Mumbida also ranked in the nation’s top 10
Overall, the share of renewables in the month of May rose to 26 per cent in the National Electricity Market, and 20 per cent of W.A.’s Wholesale Electricity Market. Notice the fall in brown coal generation in the graph below, and the ongoing decline in the share of gas generation.
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