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What is wind energy?

This energy type is electricity generated by harnessing the wind.

By the end of 2018 there was 600 GW of wind energy installed around the world, meeting almost six per cent of global electricity demand. It is expected to continue to grow its share of electricity generation globally, as well as in Australia.

How does it work?

Wind turbines use the energy of the wind to spin an electric generator, which produces electricity.

Wind turbines are commonly located on hilltops or near the ocean. In some countries, wind turbines have also been built in the ocean, either floating on the surface or using giant pylons extending to the sea floor.

Wind turbines come in various shapes, although the windmill is the most common. Some international companies are also exploring ‘airborne wind’, which works like a giant kite.

As the wind does not continuously blow, researchers have developed ways to use energy from wind that also help to maintain a reliable supply of electricity, such as pairing wind farms with solar farms and/or energy storage such as batteries (see ARENA Action below).

Wind energy in Australia

This energy type is one of Australia’s main sources of renewable energy, generating enough electricity to meet 7.1 per cent of the nation’s total electricity demand.

At the end of 2018, there were 94 wind farms in Australia, delivering nearly 6 GW of wind generation capacity.

This energy type is one of the lowest-cost sources of new electricity supply in Australia, along with utility-scale solar PV.

The cost of utility-scale wind energy in Australia is expected to continue falling, with new wind farms expected to deliver electricity at around $50-65/MWh in 2020 and below $50/MWh in 2030.

Wind video playlist

ARENA action

Our purpose is to accelerate Australia’s shift to affordable and reliable renewable energy. By connecting investment, knowledge and people to deliver energy innovation, we are helping to build the foundation of a renewable energy ecosystem in Australia.

Wind has been an established part of electricity generation in Australia for many years. Our support has therefore been focused on projects that strengthen the security and reliability of electricity supply by demonstrating that wind farms could potentially provide vital services (PDF 1MB) to help to stabilise the grid, or be paired with solar farms or storage to contribute to an overall reliable supply of electricity.

Knowledge sharing

We share knowledge, insights and data from our funded projects to help the renewable energy industry and other projects learn from each other’s experiences. Our projects capture high-quality quantitative and qualitative data and information, linked with the needs of the market, while respecting our recipients’ commercial and contractual rights.

Read reports from our wind projects in the ARENA Knowledge Bank.

Last updated 04 September 2019
Last updated
04 September 2019

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