Wind energy could supply 30% of Australia’s needs by 2025

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Windlab says RET could be met easily with wind energy alone. Wind farms could even supply 30% of Australia’s electricity by 2025.

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Australian-based Windlab has dismissed suggestions that the current renewable energy target of 41,000GWh by 2020 could not be met, saying it could be met with wind energy alone, although solar could still play a big role.

A study prepared by Windlab says that there are enough wind energy projects ready to go to meet the target, which would require another 8,000MW of wind capacity (presuming that no large-scale solar will be built).

In fact, it says, there are enough wind energy proposals that could account for 30 per cent of Australia’s electricity needs by 2025. Currently only around 5-6 per cent of Australia’s needs are met by wind energy, although South Australia has more than 30 per cent from wind energy alone.

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Dr Nathan Steggel, director of Windscape Institute, a subsidiary of Windlab (which was spun out of the CSIRO a few years ago), said there are no technical, financial or economic barriers to further rapid and large-scale deployment of wind energy.

The study was released as the Abbott government finally opened up talks with the Labor Party about seeking a compromise deal on the future of the RET. Currently no investment is being made because of uncertainty about th scheme.

The Abbott government had wanted to cap the scheme at either 17,000GWh or 25,000GWh – as recommended by the Warburton review, but now understands that those proposals are not politically tenable (or financially or environmentally for that matter).

The Labor Party has shown signs that it may agree to fiddle with the deadline (say 2022 instead of 2020), but not the target. Even though the Warburton review’s own modellers found that the target could be met within the timeframe, some utilities are still arguing that it cannot be met in the time-frame.

Windlab CEO Roger Price says such suggestions ignore the quantity of projects already approved, and the fact that larger turbines will be used. This means that only 2,600 turbines may need to be installed, not a lot more than the 2,000 or so turbines installed over the previous six-10 years.

“In many respects these conclusions are not surprising. They are simply an extension of what has already occurred in a diverse range of locations across the world. In the State of South Australia for example, wind energy today makes up around 30% of total electricity requirements.”

In the end, as the solar industry will tell you, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance has suggested, large-scale solar plants may account for nearly one half of new build renewables in the next five years. There are dozens of solar projects around the country either with planning approval, or in the process of getting it.

Windlab CEO Roger Price however says that wind energy – thanks to continued cost reductions, efficiency improvements, and increases in turbine output – remains the cheapest form of new build electricity generation available.

Even though new projects would have slightly lower wind speeds than ones already built, improvements in technology meant that the capacity factors would likely rise from an average 35 per cent to 40 per cent.

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The study found that a doubling of the current number of turbines from 2,000 to 4,000 is expected to deliver an installed capacity of 12,000MW and around 41TWh of wind generated electricity by 2020.

Deeper emissions cuts are delivered by 2025 at which point the modelling estimates 5,500 turbines can deliver 18,000MW of installed capacity and 64TWh of electricity each year.

“Australia is truly the lucky country, blessed with many abundant and world-class resources, including wind and sun,” Price said.

“Far from being a disadvantage, a swift move to renewable energy can maintain Australia’s international competitiveness and GDP growth from many years to come.”

Price noted that the Warburton review’s own modelling found that the RET would deliver price benefits to consumers, if not to fossil fuel generators.

“Given the cost benefit to consumers, ease with which the current targets can be attained and deep cuts to emissions that the RET is enabling, it seems almost inconceivable that we are even discussing a change to the RET legislation.

“It seems like every day we hear about more investment funds who have determined either that carbon risk is too large, or that climate change is our biggest challenge. Rather than debating a cut in the RET, it seems that any rational evaluation of the facts actually supports increasing our nations clean energy ambitions.”

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33 Comments
  1. Martin Nicholson 5 years ago

    Probably worth reading the Executive Summary of the 2013 AEMO Wind Integrating Studies Report – particularly the section headed “Challenges to power system operation”.

    http://www.aemo.com.au/Electricity/Planning/Integrating-Renewable-Energy

    • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

      The part where it states –

      “AEMO could potentially manage these power system impacts with existing processes and systems. This could involve either using constraint equations in the central dispatch process to limit wind generation, or as a last resort by market intervention through issuing directions to synchronous generators to ensure sufficient levels of power system inertia are maintained to allow adequate control of power system frequency.”

      Face facts. The new grid will be different from the old grid. That means that some things will need to be done differently. Sort of like when we switched from horses to cars and no longer needed to feed twice a day and muck out the stable but stop at a filling station.

      We’ll go through a period of transition which will take a bit of work. Then we’ll end up with a more reliable and very much cleaner grid and lower utility bills.

      • Martin Nicholson 5 years ago

        In a world of “wind and solar”, one wonders how much synchronous generation will be in the network. Some solar thermal, some hydro, perhaps some geothermal? Currently more than 80% is synchronous. The network will be AC for many decades to come so power system inertia will still be needed.

        • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

          It will be a process, Martin. We will not move to 100% renewable grids over night.

          Fossil fuels will get chased further and further into the background as we go along. Right now wind and solar are starting to impact the amount of fossil fuels consumed and batteries are starting to eat into the role of gas peakers for grid regulation and fast reaction to changes in supply/demand.

          Twenty, thirty years from now we may still be using some minuscule amounts of fossil fuels, most NG, for very deep backup.

          Here’s what is happening in the US. Some countries are moving faster and some slower. But expect a version of this to appear around the globe as we move from last century energy to this century energy.

        • Ronald Brakels 5 years ago

          I would imagine the cheapest place to provide ancillary services would be home and business energy storage. I could be wrong about this.

          • Martin Nicholson 5 years ago

            You may be right Giles but batteries etc all add to the systems costs of renewable energy. This needs to be considered when comparing the costs of RE against the cost of coal and gas.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Fossil fuel plants and the fuel to run them come free from the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy?

      • Patten_Pete 4 years ago

        With all due respect, this sounds like the typical superficial unicorn-like stuff the wind industry throws around thinking the average person will fall for it. With all due respect what do you base your prognostications on. It certainly doesn’t sound like you have any exposure to energy, transmission and fuel sources beyond the most superficial uncredentialed levels we often see in these blogs. Get some real world or academic credentials evincing a true understanding of these issues or stop wasting our time with your talking points. And by the way, Mr. Weigand is a serious scientist, not a lightweight who likely couldn’t get through even a survey course in biology. Science takes brains and commitment – years of hard work – it’s not simply typing words you have been told to type. Stop embarrassing yourself

    • Nathan Steggel 5 years ago

      Martin, note the AEMO report also assumes a large amount of additional wind in South Australia and Tasmania in its wind integration study- there’s plenty of high quality wind in QLD, NSW & VIC

  2. Ronald Brakels 5 years ago

    South Australia when from almost no wind power to generating wind electricity equal to 33% of its consumption from wind in nine years. There is no reason why Australia as a whole can’t get 30% of its electricity from wind in a little over 10 years.

    • Jim Wiegand 4 years ago

      These figures are from rigged studies because the studies leave out the most important amount of energy consumption in the equation. That being sources of energy used by society for transportation, heating and manufacturing.

      Today in America after 30 years we have the equivalent of 61,000 1MW turbines. Despite what is printed in main stream media or said by industry mouth pieces, the net energy production from these wind turbines produces less than 1 % of the total energy used in America.
      Just eliminating the CO2 emissions created by cars and air travel would take
      well over 10 million of these turbines running at 25% of installed capacity. Here another eyeopener………the US exports far more
      energy in the form of oil, than is produced by all the turbines now spinning in America.

      • Ronald Brakels 4 years ago

        You are lying, Jim. What I wrote was correct. South Australia does generate electricity from wind equal to about 33% of its consumption:

        https://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/south-australia-wind-energy-jumps-to-43-in-july-88992

        • Jim Wiegand 4 years ago

          I guess that would mean 3 people live there and they don’t drive, manufacture anything, or fly. Cut the crap this industry rigs all their research.

          • Ronald Brakels 4 years ago

            Dude, look at the widget in the upper right corner of the screen! It shows that over 50% of South Australia’s electricity consumption is being met by wind right now! It is not research! It is sales data from the National Electricity Market! They’re being paid for it, so I’m pretty sure they’re supplying it!

            And Jim, if you ever write anything that silly again, I’m warning you, I have a whole bag of exclamation marks here right here under the table and I’m not afraid to use them!

            !

          • Jim Wiegand 4 years ago

            Dude, I could care less about you expletives. I am writing
            this for others that are not part of this corrupt renewable energy club. The wind industry routinely rigs research and reports. In other words the industry’s research is not scientific. You guys left science behind decades ago.

            Energy use comes from many sources and the “NET” electricity generated by turbines supplies accounts for a tiny fraction of the energy used in every country. Looking through a keyhole and saying 50% of the electricity is
            produced by wind in South Australia for a tiny population is deceptive because most of the energy used by all
            modern societies comes from other sources. You know it and so does your corrupt renewable
            energy club that twists these useless hulks into a climate saving lie.

            I will remind you that these other sources of energy that provide air transportation, power automobiles, boats, manufacturing, heating and so on, consume the most energy. Not counting all these other energy needs is typical of the wind industry research/lies.

            Any study can be rigged with biased parameters and no
            industry illustrates this deception better than the wind industry. Industry-related studies on health impacts, declining real estate values, endangered whooping crane surveys, golden eagle surveys, turbines preventing climate
            change, wind turbine energy potential, and especially bird and bat mortality have all been manipulated through fraudulent data collection methodologies.

            Just in America the industry has hidden the slaughter to millions upon millions of birds and bats. This fraud also applies to the turbine peddlers in Australia. In 2008 I listened to representatives from Babcock and Brown spew their fraudulent sales pitch about these turbines in my hometown.

            How bad is the wind industry’s mortality fraud? Currently
            the AWEA is claiming they are only killing about an average of 2.9 birds per MW and I expect this fake number will decline along with the increased rigging of wind industry studies taking place. From my research into this industry’s bogus mortality studies, the real number is at least 10-50 times higher depending on locations. Below are some of the ways wind industry studies are being rigged to hide mortality:

            (1) By searching turbines that are not operational, ( 2) by searching for bodies in grossly undersized areas around wind turbines, (3) by not searching turbines daily which allows more time for bodies to be consumed by predators, hidden by employees, and picked up by leaseholders wanting to protect their income, (4) By not using trained dogs in searches which could quickly find virtually every
            carcasses in a large area around each turbine, (5) By avoiding turbines that are known to be killing the most birds at bats at a wind farms to be included in mortality studies, (6) By avoiding searches during periods of
            high usage by migrating birds, (7) By not counting mortality wounded birds that have wandered away from turbines, (8) By not counting birds taken to rehab centers which are later euthanized or permanently placed in captivity, (9) By hiring industry shills to make sure that rigged wind industry protocol is followed,(10) by not conducting mortality searches the first year of wind farm operation, 11) By letting farming practices plow carcasses into the ground during mortality surveys, (12) By rigging data calculations and by discarding very important carcasses from the data and declaring them “incidental carcasses”(12) by outright lying about problematic data such as fatalities to endangered species, (13) By restricting formal search areas to the roads and cleared areas around turbines which also happen to also be the easiest areas for wind personnel to pre-scan for carcasses ahead of formal searches, (14) By getting approval for rigged research protocol from corrupt government agencies, and (15 ) Pay very close attention to this one………………by not allowing 24 hour camera surveillance on turbines that would expose the truth regarding mortality.

            Camera surveillance on wind turbines was suggested by well meaning biologists over 25 years ago and to this day it has never happened. Besides exposing the horrific wind industry slaughter taking place these cameras would cost a small fraction of the many millions being given to shill biologists for rigging their studies.

            Lastly I have in my possession credible evidence that mortality searches written up in a mortality study conducted at the Hatchet Ridge wind farm in CA, never took place. This evidence is being held by several parties
            and will be released at the right moment during an important courtroom battle, a front page news story, or congressional hearing.

            And speaking of hearings…. your club should get your shills ready because I have been asked to give testimony at a Federal Senate inquiry coming up in your country.

    • SunGod 4 years ago

      Absolutely right. Especially since new-build wind power is substantially cheaper than new-build fossil fuel power, and the cost continues to fall.

  3. Chris Fraser 5 years ago

    This report has highlighted a possible rationalisation for the means of achieving 41TWh (which which hopefully get dispatched by AEMO and others), per annum, from renewables. It’s simply nameplate capacity. Indeed it appears to create very clear targets.

  4. Jim Wiegand 4 years ago

    Wind energy is slaughtering off the world’s eagles. In America wind turbines have been killing thousands of them. The Interior Department is fully aware that wind turbines are one of the primary killers of eagles. The FWS even disclosed this fact in a document stating that wind turbines are one of the primary sources of eagle carcasses sent to the National Eagle Repository in Denver. The following statement is quoted from an FWS document written about 17 years ago, when the Denver repository was first established:

    “Eagles turned in to the repository typically have died of natural causes or
    fatal encounters with power lines, windmills, vehicles, illegal shooters or trappers.
    The Repository does not accept poisoned birds because of the hazard they pose
    to human health.”

    Since that time, the Interior Department has imposed a virtual blackout
    about the eagle slaughter by wind turbines and the extreme danger these turbines pose to eagle populations. Since 1997 approximately 31,000 eagle carcasses have beenshipped to the National Eagle Repository in Denver. The cause of death for most of these eagles is being concealed by the Interior Department.

    Currently there is wind industry lawsuit in the works to keep the cause of
    death to these eagles and the locations they were found a secret. Even though
    many would like to speak the gag orders for FWS agents that picked these
    carcasses up and shipped them would also remain in place.

    For more about the relationship between Interior Department and the wind
    industry I recommend that everyone read this very important 2 part
    article…………”Eagle Data: Buffet/Berkshire/PacifiCorp Don’t Want You to Know”

    • Bob_Wallace 4 years ago

      And Wiegand spams another site with misinformation.

      • Jim Wiegand 4 years ago

        Bob tell everyone who you work for and why you really post under my
        comments. Be honest and don’t forget to mention that you have zero
        wildlife expertise and that I have been researching wildlife decades.

        • Bob_Wallace 4 years ago

          Sure, Jim.

          I’m retired. I have never received a penny from renewable energy companies other than what I may have earned off stocks in index funds. I have never received, nor expect to receive, any compensation for commenting.

          I’ve answered this charge from you at least a dozen times around the web. I point that out for others to gain a better understanding of you and how you operate.

          I post under your comments because I don’t like people spreading FUD.

          Now, Jim, let me ask you to answer a question you’ve been ducking.

          If we fail to avoid extreme climate change how many species will we likely drive to extinction?

          • Jim Wiegand 4 years ago

            Bob you do work…………… half truths don’t cut it. You have
            retired from a job or two before moving on to your current
            employment/position. I have given you many opportunities to be honest.

          • Bob_Wallace 4 years ago

            You’re a f**king liar, Jim.

          • Jim Wiegand 4 years ago

            Think what you want. But you and I both know you are the dishonest one for trying to pass yourself off as an expert.

          • Bob_Wallace 4 years ago

            Answer my question, Jim.

            How many species will we drive to extinction if we don’t slow climate change?

          • Jim Wiegand 4 years ago

            Answer my questions about your work and your lack of expertise with wildlife. We both know you no certified knowledge to back up any of your opinions about species extinction. We both also know you are full of hypocrisy, ignorance, and financial biases.

          • Bob_Wallace 4 years ago

            How many species will we drive to extinction if we don’t slow climate change?

          • Jim Wiegand 4 years ago

            Answer my questions about your work and your lack of
            expertise with wildlife. You are not qualified to discuss it and I know from your past responses, what I have to say is over your head. It is even over the heads of your turbine peddling friends.

            In fact as far as I know you have just one expertise……BS

            We both know you no certified knowledge to back up any of
            your opinions about species extinction. We both also know you are full of hypocrisy, ignorance, and financial biases.

          • Bob_Wallace 4 years ago

            How many species will we drive to extinction if we don’t slow climate change?

          • Jim Wiegand 4 years ago

            You see this is part of the problem with this one sided dialogue. Wind turbines and you peddling them can not fix or change climate. It’s an inappropriate question from a person with a lot to hide.

          • Patten_Pete 4 years ago

            Wow, that is uncalled for. What is it that you base this on?

            I read what Mr. Weigand wrote and have to agree with his views. I believe he is a wildlife biologist. Do you have any credentials in avian studies, wildlife biology, etc.?

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