Wind Turbines

Turbine at dusk

What is wind energy?

This energy type is electricity generated by harnessing the wind.

By the end of 2020 there was 744 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. Here is a link to a wind energy Europe site which explains the basic concepts.

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 and/or hydrogen production.

Wind energy in Australia

This energy type is one of Australia’s main sources of renewable energy, generating enough electricity to meet 8.5 per cent of the nation’s total electricity demand.

Eight wind farms were commissioned in 2019, adding 837 MW of new generating capacity, which was the highest amount added in the history of the Australian wind industry. At the end of 2019, 30 wind farms with a combined capacity of 5.5 GW were under construction or financially committed nationally.

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

It is the view of ARENA that the cost of utility-scale wind energy in Australia is expected to continue to fall, with new wind farms expected to deliver electricity at around $50-65/MWh in 2020 and below $50/MWh in 2030.

Wind energy planning in Australia is controlled by the States and each jurisdiction has its own planning rules. See the links below for details;

  • The Vic Govt Planning Wind Farm Guidelines also contain sample permit conditions. An example can be viewed here:
  • NSW Govt Planning Wind Farm requirements can be viewed here:
  • SA Govt Planning Wind Farm requirements can be viewed here:
  • The Clean Energy Council recommended best practice guidelines for wind farms can be viewed here.

IWF is not aligned to any particular wind turbine supplier and has found that not all suppliers, have the best turbine option, for all sites, all the time. IWF deals with all the major turbine suppliers and typically uses the most optimal sized turbine for the site to illustrate the effects in its planning permit applications. Links to the major suppliers and their latest models in no particular order are as follows:

  • GE 6.1MW 158.5m rotor turbine here:
  • Vestas 6.2MW 162m rotor turbine here:
  • Nordex 5.XMW 163m rotor here:
  • Siemens Gamesa 5.8MW 170m rotor here.