Windlab today released a study on the near-term potential for wind energy to supply a substantial portion of Australia’s electricity generation needs. The study was completed by the WindScape Institute, Windlab’s technical services arm. The Institute has used its detailed knowledge of the wind resource across Australia to determine that meeting the existing 2020 Renewable Energy Target of 41GWh will require 8,000MW of wind energy to be constructed (not including any large scale solar or other renewable generation technologies). There is already more than 8,000MW of wind capacity fully developed, approved and ready to construct. Furthermore there is an additional 10,000MW of wind energy currently under development making even a 30% wind energy scenario by 2025 for Australia readily achievable.

The study, led by WindScape Institute Director, Dr Nathan Steggel, concluded that there are no technical, financial or economic barriers to further rapid and large-scale deployment of wind energy into Australia’s electricity supply. Dr Steggel observed, “In many respects these conclusions are not surprising. They are simply an extension of what has already occurred in a diverse range of locations across the world. In the State of South Australia for example, wind energy today makes up around 30% of total electricity requirements.”

Windlab CEO, Roger Price, commented, “Through continued technology advancement and the benefits of scale wind energy is today the cheapest form of new build electricity generation available. Australia is truly the lucky country, blessed with many abundant and world class resources, including wind and sun. Far from being a disadvantage, a swift move to renewable energy can maintain Australia’s international competitiveness and GDP growth from many years to come.”

The recent modelling undertaken by ACIL Allen is just one of a number of studies showing that there are benefits to consumers in the form of lower electricity pricing from retaining or even increasing the Renewable Energy Target. Roger Price added, “Given the cost benefit to consumers, ease with which the current targets can be attained and deep cuts to emissions that the RET is enabling, it seems almost inconceivable that we are even discussing a change to the RET legislation. It seems like every day we hear about more investment funds who have determined either that carbon risk is too large, or that climate change is our biggest challenge. Rather than debating a cut in the RET, it seems that any rational evaluation of the facts actually supports increasing it.”

The full report can be downloaded from here (PDF document, 819 KB).