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The Rising Power & Potential of Wind Energy in Australia

Wind Power generation has grown immensely in Australia since the 1980s. In fact, it remains the largest renewable energy source in the country.  

 

Australia as a whole is well equipped to produce wind energy particularly in the southwest of Western Australia, southern South Australia, western Victoria, northern Tasmania and the elevated areas of New South Wales and Queensland. 

Whilst the industry is on the rise in Australia, the country is still lagging behind countries like Denmark, where over forty percent of their total electricity is generated from wind compared to Australia’s eight percent. However, Australia has the potential to turn into a wind superpower.

 

What Is Wind Energy & How Does It Generate Power?

Wind energy is a type of solar energy that results from changing air temperature and pressure. Wind energy converts the kinetic energy of wind into electric energy through the use of wind turbines.

A wind turbine is made up of four main parts, the base, the tower, generator and the blades.

Kinetic energy from the wind forces the blades of the turbine to turn, thus causing a series of gears that are connected to the electric generator to spin. The generator then converts the wind energy into electricity. 

Utility-scale wind turbines come in different capacities depending on the application. They can range from a few hundred kilowatts which are used for residential use, to several hundred megawatts used for commercial application. The amount of energy that is produced depends on the size of the turbine and the weather conditions. 

 

Growth Of The Wind Market In Australia

Wind turbine-generated power has been around in Australia for decades. Yet wind power generation on a utility-scale didn’t reach Australia’s shores until the late 1980s. 

In the following decades, wind farm construction continued to grow slowly. The 2000s brought in a much larger wave of new projects with much larger generation capacity.  

Wind energy is a significant source of renewable energy in Australia. As of 2023, it contributed a substantial 31.8 thousand gigawatt hours of electricity across the nation.

The geographical diversity and vast coastlines of Australia make it an ideal location for wind energy production. Victoria and South Australia have emerged as the frontrunners in this sector, generating approximately 11.8 thousand and 6.3 thousand gigawatt hours of electricity from wind energy, respectively.

Australia’s wind energy sector is on a promising trajectory. Several dozen wind farm projects, with a combined total capacity of 5,500MW, are currently underway. These developments indicate a bright future for wind energy in Australia, positioning it as a potential global leader in renewable energy.

Wind is also one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Australia, along with utility-scale solar PV. 

With new wind farms expected to deliver electricity at competitive prices (specific prices can vary based on factors such as location and weather), it is antecipated that prices will fall below $50/MWh by 2030.

By 2030, the wind industry is planning to have 50 percent of the share of electricity generation in Australia. This is an ambitious goal that is likely to present a massive opportunity to players that are involved in the Wind Energy sector or thoses who are planning to be involved in the future.

The total value of the wind energy projects in Australia is substantial. As of 2024, a $22.7 billion program is aimed at making Australia a ‘renewable energy superpower’. This investment is expected to add value to existing resources and increase Australia’s manufacturing capability.

New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia are the states that are investing the most in the sector and because of this, have the majority of the large scale projects / farms. 

 

Offshore Wind Farms in Australia

Offshore wind is increasing around the globe. In fact, the International Energy Agency is viewing offshore wind as one of the big three sources of clean energy alongside solar or onshore wind. 

The wind conditions on the Australian coast make it the ideal location for offshore wind farms. New research has found that Australia has a very high abundance of offshore wind resources close to existing transmission grids. This allows Australia to have the potential to both harness electricity for generation and create jobs across the country. 

More than 2,000GW could be potentially installed within 100km of the current substations, which excludes the environmental restrictions and low wind areas.

The report located offshore sites in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and West Australia that would make excellent sites. It also located more critical sites for energy generation in Newcastle, Gippsland and Gladstone where there are strong offshore winds. 

There are currently more than ten offshore wind projects sitting in the pipeline waiting for approval in Australia. What’s more, Australia has 58 offshore wind farm projects of which none are currently operating.

Offshore wind in Australia also has the potential to be much larger than onshore wind and solar. The Global Wind Energy Council estimates Australia has the potential to generate up to 5,000 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from offshore wind using a combination of fixed and floating infrastructure to 2GW for a project, and could generate more electricity per megawatt of capacity.

Some of Australia’s Offshore Wind farms;

 

Australia still has a long way to go to catch up to the rest of the world’s major players. But, with the vast growth of the industry and the high volume of projects waiting to be approved, the country has the potential to be an industry leader.

As Australia invests more in both Offshore and Onshore wind projects, it will bring higher capacity factors, a diverse energy supply that complements solar, as well as more employment opportunities.

 

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About the Author:

Passionate about the Renewables sector, Shivang is on a mission to help businesses bring sustainable developments to life for a better future. Having recruited both technical & non-technical roles across geographies, you can count on Shivang's holistic approach to recruitment.
Read more about Shivang Saxena.

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