Wind Farm Developments

Wind Farms in Victoria

The development of renewable energy is part of a strategy to maintain a range of options by which Victoria is able to meet its future energy needs. As the Victorian economy grows electricity consumption is projected to increase by over 15% by the year 2020. As consumption increases beyond the current capacity to supply Victorians will need to make decisions about where their energy is to come from.

Whilst fossil fuels are likely to remain a cornerstone of Victoria's energy production for many decades, increasing the proportion of energy from renewable sources is part of a balanced energy strategy. Wind energy facilities have the potential to meet a significant proportion of Victoria's growth in electricity consumption over the next ten years.

The Victorian Greenhouse Strategy released in June 2002 outlines the Government's commitment to the reduction of greenhouse emissions. From 1990 to 1999 Victoria's greenhouse gas emissions grew by 15.9%. Victoria's share of total national emissions increased from 19.7% in 1990 to 21.3% in 1999, with over half of the emissions resulting from electricity generation.

 

pie chart climate change

Electricity generation was responsible for the majority of Victorian stationary energy emissions (77%) or 55% of total net Victorian emissions.

More than 95% of Victoria's electricity comes from the combustion of brown coal in the Latrobe Valley. The abundance and availability of this fossil-fuel resource enables Victorians to enjoy low energy prices. However electricity generated from brown coal is particularly greenhouse gas intensive and when the environmental impacts are taken into consideration the real costs are much higher. The Victorian Government is committed to working with the electricity industry to reduce the greenhouse emissions from brown coal generation.

Sustainability Victoria October 2010 report on greenhouse gas emissions

Wind is an effective way for Victoria to cut greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity generation. An independent study by McLennan Magasanik Associates quantifies how much fossil fuel generation is displaced by Victorian wind farms. This study has been updated in October 2010 and an independent review of the work has been completed by the University of New South Wales.

Australia has some of the world’s best wind resources. The total operating wind capacity in April 2012 was 2480 megawatts. The amount of installed capacity of wind power has increased by an average of 25 per cent a year over the past decade. Wind energy supplies over 6,800 gigawatt hours of electricity annually - around 2.4 per cent of Australia's overall electricity needs. Currently there are 59 operating wind farms in Australia, with a total of 1345 operating turbines. South Australia has the largest installed capacity with around 49 per cent of the nation’s total wind capacity.