July has proven to be a record breaking month for wind energy in Australia, with a new national monthly generation record smashed by more than 20 per cent and new benchmarks being set in all mainland states connected to the main grid.
As RenewEconomy reported last week, Australia easily beat its monthly production record for wind farms, and by the end of the month had produce 2,474 gigawatt hours, beating the previous record set in September, 2020 (2,061GWh) by 20 per cent.
According to data provided by David Dixon of energy consultants Rystad Energy, new records for wind generation were broken in Victoria, which exceeded its previous record by a massive 223GWh, NSW (up by 92GWh), South Australia (up by 43 GWh), and Queensland (up by 23 GWh).
Dixon said the Victoria result was significant given the number of large wind projects which have joined the grid but are still only allowed to operate at reduced capacity – such as Stockyard Hill, Moorabool, and Bulgana.
On top of this, the combined output of wind and solar in the National Electricity Market in July was 3,320 GWh, up 65 per cent from 2008GWh in July last year.
Digging into the wind data, a total of 51 wind assets (from a total of 91 evaluated) achieved a capacity factor greater than 40%, with 13 of these assets achieved a capacity factor greater than 50%.
The top performing utility wind assets for the month were Naturgy’s 176MW Berrybank 1 (58.4% capacity factor) in Victoria, followed by Tilt’s 168MW first stage of the Dundonnell wind farm 1 (55.2% CF), also in Victoria.
Other strong performers include the 113MW Boco Rock wind farm (52.3% CF) in NSW and APA’s 130MW Badgingarra wind farm (51.6% CF) in WA.
The aggregate production records will not last long. Even though there is a virtual standstill in new financing of wind and solar projects, due to connection problems, lack of infrastructure and uncertainty and concern over new market rules, there is still a lot working through the system.
According to Rystad Energy, there is currently 1180MW of wind capacity and 1433MW of utility scale solar PV at various stages of commissioning, including the likes of the country’s biggest wind project, the 530MW Stockyard Hill wind farm.
On top of this, there are more projects still in the construction stage yet to be energized, such as the New England solar farm, and the Western Downs solar farm and Kaban wind project being built by Neoen in Queensland.