Wind power is currently the cheapest source of large-scale renewable energy. It involves generating electricity from the naturally occurring power of the wind. Wind turbines capture wind energy within the area swept by their blades. The spinning blades drive an electrical generator that produces electricity for export to the grid.
Technological advances in the sector mean that wind turbines are now larger, more efficient and make use of intelligent technology. Rotor diameters and hub heights have increased to capture more energy per turbine. The advancing technology means that fewer turbines are needed to produce the same energy, and wind farms have increasingly sophisticated adaptive capability.
In 2017, Australia's wind farms produced 33.8 per cent of the country's clean energy and supplied 5.7 per cent of Australia's overall electricity. For the first time ever, 2017 saw wind contribute an almost identical amount of Australian electricity as hydro energy.
of total clean energy generated in 2017
of total electricity generated in 2017
Six wind farms became operational in 2017, adding 547 MW of new generating capacity, which was the third-highest amount added in the history of the Australian wind industry. This number is expected to be dwarfed by the number of new wind farms in 2018 and the next few years, with nine wind farms already completed in 2018 and a further 27 in construction or due to begin construction soon (this includes hybrid projects combining wind and solar).
projects commissioned in 20189
projects under construction or due to start soon27
The largest project in 2017 was the 240 MW Ararat Wind Farm in Victoria. 2018 has seen a number of large wind farms completed, included the 270 MW Sapphire Wind Farm in NSW, the 181 MW Mt Emerald Wind Farm in Queensland and the 138 MW Mt Gellibrand Wind Farm (stage 1) in Victoria.
You can view more detail on the projects that have been completed and are being constructed around the country on our project tracker page.
The majority of Australians support wind power. Even so, it is vitally important for wind farm companies to engage in good faith with people living in the vicinity of wind power projects.
To help promote a high standard of community engagement across the industry, the Clean Energy Council has developed a number of reports and guides which are available on our community engagement page.