Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Wind Energy Blows Strong

By Ian Lowe

South Australia’s wind farms are generating almost one-quarter of the state’s energy needs.

Ian Lowe is Emeritus Professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The Murdoch press has been running a campaign against wind energy, but the facts from South Australia show that wind turbines can make a major contribution to a clean energy future.

On one windy day in early September, the state’s wind farms produced 55% of all the electricity used in South Australia. At its peak in the early hours of one morning, wind was producing 85% of the power being consumed.

So much for the furphies that renewables can’t provide baseload power or contribute significantly to reducing greenhouse gas emissions!

Russell Marsh, Policy Director at the Clean Energy Council, quoted data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). Marsh said: “According to AEMO, in the 2011–12 financial year almost a quarter of the state’s electricity was generated by wind farms. This has led to a corresponding drop in generation from coal and gas plants, with wind generating more energy than coal for the first time. South Australia has proven once again that wind energy can generate real power – and lots of it.”

Marsh said the data showed that greenhouse gas emissions from South Australia’s power sector had fallen every year since 2005–06. The overall reduction over the 5 years was just over 27%.

“All this wind is putting South Australia well ahead of the curve on Australia’s 20% Renewable Energy Target, and helping to provide...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.