Welcome to IEA Wind Member Country Activities for Australia 2011
The Australian continent boasts some of the best wind resources in the world, courtesy of the Roaring Forties winds blowing hard onto the country’s southern coastline. Wind energy continues to make a significant contribution to Australia’s clean energy mix and now supplies over 6,400 GWh annually – more than 2% of the nation’s overall electricity needs and the equivalent of more than 900,000 average Australian households.
Although the cost of wind energy continues to fall, government support is crucial in supporting investment in the industry and enabling wind to play a major role in helping Australia transition to a low carbon economy. The country’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) is designed to deliver 20% of Australia’s electricity by 2020 and a price on carbon will begin in mid-2012. The RET is expected to unlock more than 20 billion AUD (15.7 billion EUR; 19.7 billion USD) in investment over this decade. As the lowest cost form of large-scale renewable energy, much of this target is expected to be met with investment in wind energy.
At the close of 2011 Australia had 58 wind farms with a total operating wind capacity of 2,224 MW. Five new projects were commissioned in 2011, adding another 234 MW of capacity to the Australian electricity grid. Seven projects were under construction as at the end of 2011 and are expected to contribute an additional 1,060 MW within the next three years. Another 18,000 MW of projects are currently proposed for Australia and are either in the evaluation phase or going through the development approval process.