Ill winds blow away claimed elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion num­bers

The Australian - - THE NATION - SID MA­HER

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.

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