Wind energy

What is wind energy?

Wind energy is generated by converting wind currents into other forms of energy using wind turbines.  Winds are generated by complex mechanisms involving the rotation of the Earth, the heat capacity of the sun, the cooling effect of the oceans and polar ice caps, temperature gradients between land and sea, and the physical effects of mountains and other obstacles.

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Wind turbines convert the force of the wind into a torque (rotational force), which is then used to propel an electric generator to create electricity. Wind energy power stations (known as wind farms) commonly aggregate the output of multiple wind turbines through a central connection point to the electricity grid. Across the world there are both on-shore (on land) and off-shore (out to sea) wind energy projects.

How is wind energy used in Australia?

In Australia, wind energy is primarily used for electricity generation. Wind energy is also used to pump bore water, particularly in rural areas. There is good access to available onshore wind resources and there are currently no known plans to develop offshore wind projects in Australia.

Australia has some of the world’s best wind resources along its south-western, southern and south eastern margins. More isolated areas of the eastern margin also have excellent wind resources.

Wind energy is the fastest growing renewable energy source for electricity generation in Australia, and its current share of total Australian primary energy consumption is currently almost 4%.