Wind Power Trumps Coal-Fired Electricity Generation In South Australia

Turbine Image: BigStock

While some state governments continue to look down their noses at wind turbines; in South Australia, wind power has been warmly embraced and last year generated more electricity than coal. 
According to Adelaide-based Energy Quest, 80% of electricity generated in the National Electricity Market (NEM) in 2011 was fuelled by coal and 3% by wind.
However, 26% of South Australia’s electricity was generated by wind power last year, up from 18% in 2010 and less than 1% five years ago. According to Wikipedia, in 2003 the only large wind turbine in South Australia was a 0.15 MW unit installed at Coober Pedy.
Fossil fuel based electricity generation is plummeting in South Australia, thanks to wind energy and to a lesser degree, solar power. EnergyQuest says since 2006-07, gas’s share in electricity generation has fallen from 58% to 49% in the state and coal has seen a bigger drop; falling from 42% to 25%. 
South Australia is home to many wind farms, including:
Hallett Wind Farm (350 MW)
Lake Bonney Wind Farm (278.5 MW)
Waterloo Wind Farm (111 MW)
Snowtown Wind Farm (99 MW)
Wattle Point Wind Farm (91 MW)
Mount Millar Wind Farm (70 MW)
Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm (66 MW)
Clements Gap Wind Farm (56 MW)
Canunda Wind Farm (46 MW)
Starfish Hill Wind Farm (34.5 MW)
Wind energy is set to play an even more prominent role in South Australia’s clean energy future. Major projects in the pipeline include Suzlon’s proposed 600-megawatt $1.3 billion wind farm on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, which will be linked by submarine cable to Adelaide.
But an ill wind blowing nobody any good could seriously impact the wind sector’s prospects if South Australia’s Opposition has its way. In January, Australia’s Clean Energy Council (CEC) warned the South Australian Opposition’s policy on wind farms would threaten more than $3 billion of investment and result in a further jump in electricity prices in the state if implemented.