Extreme weather conditions across Australia’s south-east have helped wind energy to deliver more than two-thirds of South Australia’s electricity over the weekend, and even higher levels on Monday, with wind turbines providing a huge 83 per cent of the state’s power needs in the 24 hours to 4pm on July 11.
Clean Energy Council policy manager Alicia Webb said the state’s nation-leading wind energy resource was “blazing a trail” for the rest of the country, and illustrating that other mainland states could install much more renewable energy capacity without losing reliability – particularly as battery storage technologies became cheaper and more flexible.
Webb also noted that while the severe winter winds of the past four days had caused extensive and, no doubt, costly damage to South Australia’s power lines, and had left thousands in the state without power, it was “well documented” that wind power could help keep electricity prices down, as this article has demonstrated.
@SAPowerNetworks About 120,000 affected by outages since midnight Sunday. 42,000 currently without power as this shocking weather continues.
— SA Power Networks (@SAPowerNetworks) July 12, 2016
Interestingly, it was at around this time last year when – just as then Prime Minister Tony Abbott launched another attack on Australia’s wind farms – wind energy provided a record output for a single day in Australia of more than 70,000MWh – or 13.5 per cent of average national demand over the whole day.
And of course, as we noted here, wind energy had its biggest month in Australia just this past May, during which time wind power supply in South Australia managed to exceed local demand for more than 10 hours on one Sunday, with a peak, at one point, of 120 per cent of demand.
“The state now has 683 turbines, which have generated more than $6 billion of investment and hundreds of jobs in regional communities – as well as lots of renewable energy,” Webb said in a statement on Tuesday.
“It is in the midst of a remarkable transformation, with more than 40 per cent of its power needs coming from renewable energy last year.
“It is clear that modern economies can run on increasingly higher levels of renewable energy, and it is clear from South Australia’s example that other mainland states can go much further with no loss of reliability,” Webb said.
“Australia has committed to national emission reduction targets as part of the climate agreement negotiated in Paris last year, and renewable energy such as wind power will play an important role in cutting pollution from the power sector.”