Wind power is a significant part of Australia’s transforming power system and energy industry. AEMO’s recent Renewable Integration Study forecasted that (at certain times) as much as 75 per cent of energy could be provided by wind and solar resources by 2025.
In total, the NEM has 17 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar generation capacity, with several regions among the world’s highest levels of wind and solar. By 2025, AEMO’s Draft 2020 ISP forecasts in its ‘central’ scenario that this can increase to 27GW of wind and solar, including both utility and distributed solar PV.
In that central scenario, 15GW of wind power capacity is forecasted which equates to roughly 4,000 wind turbines or a square grid of 64 x 64 turbines (approximately 2,900 square km). Wind farms take up very little space in their required footprint, as they generally tend to coexist with agriculture and natural surroundings.
In Queensland, wind power complements the excellent solar resources in the Sunshine State as wind often picks up in the afternoon as the sun sets (given the temperature differential between land and sea).
The potential of large scale wind generation in the state has been advancing through wind farm projects such as Mt Emerald Wind Farm (180 megawatts) and Coopers Gap (453 megawatts), and Queensland now has more than 2,400 megawatts of large‑scale renewable energy capacity operating.
The latest large-scale wind farm proposed for the Wide Bay
Burnett region (approximately an hour’s drive north of the state capital,
Brisbane) is continuing to advance with the introduction of the Forest
Wind Development Bill 2020 into Parliament late last month.
In their media release, State Development Minister Kate Jones said the introduction of the Bill marked the successful completion of the detailed assessment stage of the Forest Wind project.
“Forest Wind has the potential to be one of the largest grid-connected wind farms in the Southern Hemisphere and could help propel us towards our target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030,” she said. “This project could be an absolute game changer for Queensland. With the potential to generate up to 1,200 megawatts of electricity, it has the potential to supply one in four homes in our state.
According to the state government of Queensland, the Forest Wind Development Bill 2020 will outline a pathway for Forest Wind Holdings to obtain tenure to access, occupy, develop and manage the land for the purpose of the project, and limit the construction and operation of the wind farm to the Toolara, Tuan and Neerdie state forests.
In line with these transformational changes to generation and supply, AEMO’s Renewable Integration Study provided deep technical insights and analysis on managing the rapid changes to wind (and solar) output and variability. Please visit our Renewable Integration Study page for further in-depth detail.
*As the system and market operator, we are fuel and technology neutral. The products, services and providers in this content are for illustrative purposes only and are not endorsed by AEMO.