Wind power is generated by converting the kinetic energy of the atmosphere into useable electricity with wind turbines.
Wind is generated by complex mechanisms involving the rotation of the Earth, the heat 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.
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 draw on 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 offshore (out to sea) wind energy projects.
How is wind energy used in Australia?
In Australia, wind energy is primarily used for electricity generation. Through the use of small windmills, wind energy has also been used to pump bore water, particularly in rural areas.
Australia has some of the world’s best wind resources in its south-western, southern and south-eastern regions.
There is good access to available on-shore wind resources and there are currently no known plans to develop offshore wind projects in Australia.
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 4.9%.
ARENA wind energy projects
ARENA has a small number of projects that involve wind energy, which are focused on hybridising wind energy with diesel systems. Several of our large-scale solar projects involve co-location with wind farms.
In light of wind energy’s wide use across Australia and globally, and access to institutional project finance, ARENA does not support stand-alone wind energy proposals. We may consider support for new technologies or approaches that reduce the costs of wind energy or improve reliability by reducing balance of plant cost, overcoming grid integration challenges, and social licence.