Ill winds blow away claimed electricity production numbers
Unfavourable winds appear to have clipped the wings of the wind farms in the national electricity market, with their actual power production coming in about 11 per cent below their claimed production capacity in the year to July 2017.
Only four wind farms connected to the NEM that services Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia exceeded their claimed capacity in 2016-17.
Production figures released by the Clean Energy Regulator show AGL’s Macarthur Wind Farm in Victoria produced 894,077 MWh compared with a claimed capacity of 1.29 million MWh for the financial year.
AGL’s Oaklands Hill Wind Farm, also in Victoria, produced 170,182 MWh compared with a claimed capacity of 205,422MWh, a shortfall of 35,240MWh, while its Wattle Point Wind Farm in South Australia produced 233,053MWh compared with a claimed capacity of 360,000MWh, a shortfall of 126,947 MWh in the period.
“Performance in FY2017 was primarily affected by planned outages at Macarthur, and unfavourable wind for all farms,’’ AGL said.
The shortfall in generation by wind farms comes amid Greens attacks on the reliability of coalfired generation. Late last year, Greens climate change spokesman Adam Bandt branded coal “unreliable’’ and said coal-fired stations struggled in the heat.
Research by the Australian Energy Council said coal-fired power stations had the highest capacity factor in all states except Tasmania and the Northern Territory, where the primary generation was from hydro and gas-fired plants.
The capacity factor of a power station is the electricity produced represented as a percentage of the theoretical maximum a plant could produce if it ran at maximum output 24 hours a day for a full year.
The Australian Energy Council research, published in November, showed the capacity factor of coal ranged from 56 per cent in Western Australia to 81 per cent in Victoria in the 2015-16 year. The capacity factor of wind farms ranged from 30 per cent in Victoria to 37 per cent in Tasmania.