by Steven Randall
The first technology we will look at in considering the Renewable Energy industry in Australia is Wind Power.
Wind technology is probably the simplest for to work with in some ways; the wind is used to spin a set of blades on a machine ( not unlike the old windmills), and drive an electric generator. If you look at the map below....
.. it is apparent that the southern coast of the continent sits on the top edge of the legendary Roaring 40s - the belt of the Southern Ocean where the wind never stops blowing, and sometimes way too much. This however, creates one of the most valuable power generation assets in the world, and Australia has began to take full advantage of this asset.
In December 2015, Wind power accounted for nearly 5 % of all power produced in Australia, and was strongly prevalent in South Australia and Victoria.
In the early days of Wind technology, the individual turbines were limited to developing about 200 KW of power, but technology has moved ahead greatly, and today we have turbines capable of developing up to 3 MW each, making economies of scale very important.
The wind turbines are fitted with system to partially govern their rotation speed, and in the event of speeds over a certain limit, the turbines simply shut down, thus avoiding damage to the machines or even local assets.
The port city of Albany in southern Western Australia, has taken advantage of it's close proximity to the Southern ocean....
..with this wind farm sitting right on the cliffs west of the city. The turbine system here generates 22 - 25 megawatts of power, and provides a significant saving from the main power grid. Because the winds do vary of course, Albany stays connected to the main grid, providing a steady power loading environment. Current proposals are considering doubling the size of this system to over 50 MW for the future.
One of the key purposes of renewable energy is to reduce or eliminate the use and reliance on Fossil Fuels. South of Victoria, off the northern coast of Tasmania is King Island, and here the government is employing Wind power....
This system of turbines is helping replace the old Diesel generation system used for many years. Sitting squarely in Bass Strait, ther eis no shortage of driving power, and the turbines not only save several hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel costs, but also eliminate hundreds of tons of CO2 each year.
In Queensland's northern areas, several big companies have joined forces to begin building what will be Australia's largest Reneweable Energy system - the Kennedy Energy Park. This complex will become something like this giant system in the USA..
.. will start out with 40 MW of wind turbines, but will end up generating a potentially massive 1600 MW of power, and this from a combination of Wing turbines and large scale Solar installations. It will supply many thousands of QLD homes with constant power, and,, when complete, eliminate between 1.1 and 1.6 million tons of CO2 a year from our environment. And that's something to write home about.
So it's possible to see some thing of the potential for further development of this technology to increase our environmental care program, and work steadily towards a cleaner future.
Next article we will consider the huge revolution that is the large scale Solar industry in Australia. For more information on Australia's Renewable Energy industry, we invite your consideration of our new to market industry product...