South Australian energy use to 2011

SA: now 26% wind powered!

South Australian energy use to 2011
AEMO: SA energy use

We have been quoting the figure of just over 20% wind energy for South Australia since last year’s supply & demand outlook report from AEMO. That report provided the wonderful graph here, illustrating the growth of wind energy in SA. Now it’s time to update our figures, according to the following news just published on the ABC:

SA wind power nearly nine times national rate

A report says more than one quarter of South Australia’s electricity generation is now wind-powered.

The EnergyQuest report says wind power generated 26 per cent of SA electricity last year, compared with 3 per cent nationally.

EnergyQuest chief executive Graeme Bethune said SA had become one of the highest users of wind energy in the world.

He said more wind farms were in the planning.

“There’s been an extraordinary growth in wind power in South Australia over the last five years. Five years ago it was less than 1 per cent, in 2011 it hit 26 per cent of power generation,” he said.

Mr Bethune said Victoria and Tasmania had the next highest levels of wind power generation.


9 thoughts on “SA: now 26% wind powered!

  1. Hello, I am interested in your statistic 26%, what details specifically it represents & how it is quantified.


  2. As far as I can tell the EnergyQuest report isn’t (yet) available on the web, but here’s some more info:

    “The EnergyQuest report shows that gas-use in power generation on the east coast was down slightly during the year (by 6.3 PJ). Overall, 80% of electricity generated in the National Electricity Market (NEM) was fuelled by coal, 11% by gas, 6% by hydro and 3% by wind, similar to the market shares in 2010.

    “However a massive 26% of South Australian electricity was generated by wind in 2011, up from 18% in 2010 and less than 1% five years ago.

    “Since 2006-07 the share of gas in power generation has fallen from 58% to 49% but the big change has been in coal, which has fallen from 42% to 25%. Wind is effectively replacing coal.”


  3. Thanks for that info, Ben. I’m from NZ where 90% of our electricity is generated by renewables, 80% hydro, 10% geothermal & 10% gas. We are a relatively small nation, so distribution is not the issue it is in Australia. SA gets plenty of wind in the roaring 40’s & it makes sense to use the resource. Being an AGW skeptic, my main issue with the use of renewables is that they should be able to provide an affordable & reliable supply for consumers.

  4. Well, I’ve heard no substantial reports of wind causing problems for reliability, not at this level of penetration. Wholesale electricity prices have fallen (due to the merit order effect) in South Australia, too.

    My main concern (I am worried about AGW!) is that replacing coal with gas (which is a flexible backup for wind) is not a sufficiently large reduction in emissions (and will lead to reliance on dirty coal-seam gas and shale gas fracking). I’d prefer moving to concentrating solar-thermal plants with storage as a clean source of dispatchable power.

    Southern Australia also gets a lot of wind coming off the Roaring 40s, and yes, it makes sense to use the resource; being renewable, we will never have to pay rising fuel prices on it!


  5. “…being renewable, we will never have to pay rising fuel prices on it!”

    You may not have to pay more for increased costs of coal, oil or gas, but what on earth makes you think the companies running the wind farms will not increase their prices over time?

    Of course they will; they’re just greedy, money-hungry organisations like all the others.

    It doesn’t matter whether your power comes from coal, gas, hydro, solar, wind, nuclear or thousands of slaves furiously peddling on peddle-powered mini generators, the long suffering consumer will still suffer.

    Nor will it matter whether the Libs, Labor or Greens are in power, the consumer will still be made to pay exorbitant prices.

  6. John: you should check out how the energy spot market works. I put a basic explanation up on this blog in December:

    Wind farm owners could theoretically increase prices, but they are not bound to do so by the international energy market: wind is not a traded commodity. Likewise, they do not have a strong incentive to raise their prices in the energy spot market: they can’t store up the wind until a more profitable time to sell!

    Further, the enormous take-up of household-owned solar panels is likely to keep energy costs down overall, as they also feed into the grid and cut down peak demand (albeit not in a measured way like wind farms).

    I should add that I don’t necessarily think the energy spot market is the smartest way to run an electricity grid! But it’s what we’ve got and has some positive side-effects for renewables in the short term.

  7. A report today shows SA has the 3rd most expensive power in the world, behind only Denmark and Germany. Now tell me why I should pay so much extra to subsidise inefficient generation methods (and please don’t say, “To protect the environemnt”, as it’s been proved there is negligible benefit to the environment but a huge cost to the consumer).

    We are paying for power through the nose

    John Rolfe
    From: Herald Sun
    March 21, 2012 12:00AM

    WE pay 130 per cent more for electricity than Canadians, a power premium that will rise to 250 per cent once the carbon tax and locked-in price increases take effect.

    Households pay 70 per cent more than the US average, research for the Energy Users Association of Australia says.

    That will grow to 160 per cent in two years.

    Australians are charged about 12c a kilowatt hour, meaning average annual consumption of 7000kw/h costs $840.

    A similar bill in Canada would be $630, based on 9c a kilowatt hour.

    The Carbon Market Economics report argues the way power prices are set in Australia needs urgent reform.

    The energy users’ association – which represents 100 big power users including BHP, Coles and the Commonwealth Bank – will use the research to reject claims Australian electricity is relatively cheap.

    Energy Minister Martin Ferguson recently said Australians paid less than the OECD average.

    This relied on a document called Energy In Australia 2012, which the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics published three weeks ago based on 2009-10 electricity prices.

    “That data is old,” EUAA executive director Roman Domanski said.

    In 2010-11 the national price had risen by 16 per cent.

    The comparison of prices in 92 jurisdictions – including more than 35 countries, individual US and Australian states – found Victoria was fifth costliest behind Denmark, Germany, South Australia and NSW.

    The price of electricity is the No.1 cost of living concern in Victoria, a Galaxy poll found this month.

    Mr Domanski said: “Add in the carbon tax, further network price increases and renewable energy subsidies and our prices are pushed to the point where they are challenging Denmark and Germany as the most expensive in the world – unless something’s done.”

    The report found Australian power prices had risen about 40 per cent since 2007.

  8. “Germany’s 37 million households will soon be paying half as much on their annual electricity bills as Australian households. An average German household pays just $1060, or about $88 a month, for electricity to run their computers, lights and other household appliances, while an Australian household in 2013 will be paying a whopping $2117, or $176 a month, according to the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC).”

    Germany has a hell of a lot more renewable energy than Australia. Also, unlike many of the big power-guzzling industries of the EUAA, they have pretty good energy efficiency, which is one important reason for their lower bills.

    To say there is a “negligible” benefit to the environment, when SA’s total carbon emissions have gone down — even while their total energy use has gone up!! — is pretty silly, John. What’s so negligible about falling carbon emissions?

  9. More analysis of SA, this one from BZE’s Matthew Wright:

    “Back in 1998 when the National Electricity Market was formed, South Australian generators charged more for electricity than generators in any of the other states. Today South Australian electricity is at its lowest price since the creation of the NEM and that is largely because of its choice to significantly develop its wind resources.

    “Wind Power costs a lot less than the savings it makes – it’s like a preventative measure; an insurance that you buy against high electricity prices. In the case of South Australia, they did just that and it paid off. According to the Essential Service Commission of South Australia wind power adds just 0.366c per kWh to the average South Australian electricity bill or just on 1 per cent (based on AEMC 2013/2014 South Australian 32c retail rate) The oft claimed outrageously high cost of wind is just $18.00 a year per household.”

    See the full article here:

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