Australian wind energy takes off

Wind energy is fast becoming a hit in Australia, with high winds boosting turbines to produce a heap of renewable electricity for the nation. This form of energy is the focus of a lot of investment and capacity-building around the world as it proves to be a great provider of clean energy for nations that are looking to become more sustainable with their power usage. It can also help to protect against electricity price shocks.

In fact, showing just how effective it's proving to be, wind power is the fastest growing energy source in the world. It even increased at an average of nearly 30 per cent per year between 2000 and 2008.

South Australia in particular has set a new standard for the use of wind power. The wind has been whipping through the state recently, and for the week beginning August 11 almost half of the state's power was produced by wind farms. Thanks to particularly windy conditions, both SA and Victoria broke their records for wind power - producing 48 per cent of the week's needs for SA, and 10 per cent for Victoria.

"Strong winter winds last week caused many people in both states to button their coats tighter and hang on to their hats. The positive was the large amount of clean energy that was produced by the wind farms on Australia’s southern coastline, breaking records for the amount of wind power generated in a single week in South Australia and Victoria," said Russell Marsh, Clean Energy Council (CEC) policy director.

"The national figures are impressive as well, with wind power providing a record 7.6 per cent of all power generated across the entire National Electricity Market last week. This is the equivalent of powering more than 2.3 million homes during that period."

Mr Marsh stated that this shows wind power is working well, generating useful power and helping farmers who have wind turbines on their farms to earn extra income.

It's no coincidence that these outstanding results coincide with the opening of the Macarthur Wind Farm in Victoria earlier this year - the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere.

"Wind power is currently the least expensive kind of renewable energy that can be rolled out on a large scale, and will be important to help us reach our target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020," said Mr Marsh.

Posted by Charlie Moore