This may be a case of exquisite timing. Just as Prime Minister Tony Abbott launched into another attack on Australia’s wind farms, the nation’s wind turbines have pooled together to provide record output for a single day in Australia.
As this graph, courtesy of Infigen Energy’s Ketan Joshi shows, wind output on Saturday produced – for the first time – more than 70,000MWh in a single day. That meant that it accounted for 13.5 per cent of average demand over the whole day.
Abbott has expressed his distaste for wind energy and on Monday described Labor’s proposed 50 per cent renewable energy goal as a “scam”, borrowing an expression from some dodgy anti-wind web sites. He said the current target for renewables was “more than enough.”
As Joshi noted in an email to RenewEconomy: “Though the upper bounds of wind power output are only part of the story of growing renewable energy in Australia, these moments are still milestones in a changing energy landscape.
“The latest maximum output, reached last Saturday, saw wind power meeting around 13 per cent to 15 per cent of the national electricity market’s total demand (rooftop solar isn’t included in this calculation as a generator).
“These moments don’t happen all the time, but they illustrate why wind farms are built with capacities that are much higher than the average wind power output – so they can capture these rare but important moments of enormous quantities of kinetic energy churning in the atmosphere, and convert it into usable electrical energy.
“On average, wind is around 4 per cent of total NEM consumption, but these ‘maximum’ moments are clear markers of how variable output technologies can integrate easily into our existing grid.”