South Australia paves the way for renewable energy

South australia has a thriving renewable energy sector 171 6001311 0 14063345 300

Though Australia itself has drawn criticism for its current hesitation to embrace more widespread renewable energy policies, one state seems to be making marked success in terms of sustainable power: South Australia. This state attracted world-wide attention in late 2014 for generating an entire day's worth of energy from renewable sources, and its wind farms continue to make headlines for their output and efficiency. Here's a little bit of background on South Australia's energy sources.

Wind power in South Australia

A recent BBC article highlighted South Australia's wind sector. One turbine in an SA wind farm can power up to 1,000 homes, largely thanks to the area's natural wind resources. Because SA is blessed with so much wind power, it is capable of producing about 40 per cent of all its energy directly from this renewable resource.

There's also a hopeful forecast for the future of clean energy in the state. If current investments in wind continue, SA may be well on its way to reaching its current goal of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2025.

SA runs entirely on renewables for 1 day

On 27 September 2014, the state demonstrated its clean energy capacity by shutting off all non-renewable power generators for an entire working day. Between 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the 27th, the entire country received power harnessed only from renewable sources.

Renew Economy noted that the state's wind and solar industries worked together that day so supply residents with power. In fact, 1 in 4 homes in the state have solar panels on their roofs, which contributes significantly to decreasing the need for non-renewable energy sources.

What do renewables mean for energy prices?

Pitt & Sherry, an Australian infrastructure consultancy, ran the numbers on energy prices on the day of the renewable energy achievement. The agency monitored energy prices both in SA as well as Victoria over the course of the week, and drew a direct comparison between energy rates and the percentage of power that came from clean sources.

"The inverse relationship between wind generation and pool prices is very clear - the more wind generation, the lower the price, on average," said Hugh Saddler, a consultant for the group.

As greater Australia continues to debate the future of its energy policy, lawmakers may want to take a cue from its southernmost state.