Australia’s main grid came close to a new record for wind energy output over the weekend, as two new wind projects began production for the first time, although the contribution of the newly connected projects remained minimal.
According to grid wind watchers, including Global Roam’s Paul McArdle, it was “blowing a gale” over much of the weekend, and the combined output of the country’s wind farms reached a peak of 5,597MW late on Saturday. That ended up being just short of the record output of 5,642MW in May this year.
The wind was pretty constant from early Friday, and delivered more than 5,000MW through to the end of Saturday, or an avaerage of around 20 per cent of the market demand. The biggest contribution came from Victoria, followed by NSW and South Australia.
In terms of renewable share, South Australia was the highest with wind ranging between 55 per cent and 95 per cent of local demand over the two days, and the combined output of wind and solar delivered more than 105 per cent of local demand around noon on Saturday. The excess was exported to Victoria.
The wind output from South Australia is capped below 1,300MW, and would surely have been more had the four planned synchronous condensers been online by now, as originally planned.
These syncon units, the first now due at the end of the month, are essentially spinning machines that deliver the “synchronous” qualities the market operator says are needed to maintain stability in the grid.
Once those syncons are in service, it will mean that gas units will no longer be dragooned into the market to deliver this service, and will in turn increase the amount of wind in the local grid at any one time.
The market operator, and particularly many energy experts, believe that battery inverters should be able to provide the same services, although they want to see more testing.
Meanwhile, as reported last week, Australia’s biggest completed wind project, the 530MW Stockyard Hill wind farm in central Victoria, finally obtained its registration for at least part of its project after lengthy delays.
It began generating over the weekend, contributing as much as 30MW as it works its way through various “hold” points.
Also injecting its first production into the grid was the first stage of the 244MW Bango wind farm north of Yass in NSW, owned by CWP Renewables. It is largely contracted to Snowy Hydro.
See also RenewEconomy’s Large Scale Wind Farm Map of Australia.