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Australia Opens Biggest Wind Farm In Southern Hemisphere

Vestas V112-3.0MW wind turbine

The biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere, Macarthur wind farm, has officially opened in the Australian state of Victoria.

The 420 megawatt project was developed by AGL Energy and Meridian, a New Zealand company. The project developers have pointed out that the massive new wind farm is the single largest investment in renewable energy in Australia since the Snowy Mountain hydro scheme was finished back in 1974. Macarthur wind farm cost $1 billion to build.

With the launch of this project, Australian Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has said that wind power capacity in Australia has risen from 1,140 megawatts in 2007 to 3,000 megawatts today. Australia has legislated for a large-scale Renewable Energy Target of at least 41,000 GWh by 2020.

The Macarthur wind farm has the largest wind turbines of any in Australia. They are Vestas V112-3.0MW turbines with a 55 meter blade length, and a 85m tower. All of the 140 towers for the project were manufactured in Australia. The farm also includes 3 main substation transformers.

The massive wind farm began construction in late 2010 and was completed 3 months ahead of schedule in in January this year. The farm is now ready to pump out enough electricity for about 200,000 homes, and save more than 1.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gasess from going into the atmosphere every year. Nice one, mates.

Image: Vestas V112-3 wind turbine

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alirazeghi Ali Razeghi

    “save more than 1.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gasess from going into the atmosphere every year.”

    Compared to what technology exactly? Also, what is the operational cost of this? Would having a nuclear power plant that costs a fraction of the cost and puts out 1100MWatt/hr? Would the hundreds of millions of dollars saved be better spent on recycling centers and investment in other technology to help out?

    I know there’s lots of propaganda about Japan (with some of the more extreme fraudulently calling it a ‘meltdown’) but I’m curious what the numbers really are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.youker Rebecca Youker

    Thank you Aussies

  • http://www.the9billion.com/ John Johnston

    Let’s say, compared to coal-fired power, which Australia mostly has at the moment. Also, I think you’ll find building nuclear power stations is VERY expensive, take a long time to build, and use a lot of water – something Australia doesn’t have to spare at times.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alirazeghi Ali Razeghi

    Hi John, thanks for the post! The water issue is a problem globally. Australia needs to invest heavily in desalination in which the nuclear energy would help out tremendously in. The extra hundreds of millions of dollars saved could build state of the art water desalination plants, and use the massive spare nuclear power energy to power them. Then this water could also be used to start greening the huge Australian desert. That’s REALLY going green! That prospect would beyond excite me.

  • http://www.the9billion.com/ John Johnston

    I think a better bet for Australia, because of the ample solar resources, is solar power. Many people don’t realise solar technology is one of those exponential technologies that is expected to account for a large percentage of the world’s power in a lot less time than seems feasible. I think it will seem to explode, like mobile and internet tech did, and it will be cheap. The stats going back 20 years do back that up. It’s been growing exponentially and getting cheaper over that time, although still at a small overall percentage of power.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alirazeghi Ali Razeghi

    I would ask you to consider the fact that *currently* (I know you stated in the future it’s expected to expand heavily) solar is a negative energy solution largely. The batteries, panels, and maintenance cost more energy than you get back from it. I’ve also been hearing for years how solar is going to blow up, but I haven’t seen any meaningful progress. Consider this. Until we can synthesize chlorophyl solar is a distant dream to actually power a entire grid.

    Currently, from a flux energy density and available technology point of view, the 3rd generation underground nuclear power plants provide massive energy output (leaps beyond anything else), are the most environmental (assuming Australia isn’t crazy like the US and recycles the uranium waste which is HIGHLY recyclable), and gives us ample energy to power Australia to green the desert and to make connections to Asia.

    Australia needs to be greened instead of being a barren desert and we should build connections to Asia to expand the economy by a massive scale. Also, getting rid of a un-elected governor general that has the power to sack the entire government would be nice too ;)

    I appreciate your responses John! Keep up the great work.

  • http://www.the9billion.com/ John Johnston

    I don’t disagree that next gen nuclear has potential, and even some climate scientists (such as Dr James Hansen) are advocating nuclear as part of the solution. No doubt nuclear will be a big part of the energy mix in many countries, especially China, when it comes to phasing out coal quickly – which I think will start to happen at some point once the realisation sets in that it’s absolutely necessary to do so.

    However, I still think you are underestimating solar. It’s true that it has been a negative energy solution, but it is currently thought to have now crossed into a net energy producer. See this Stanford article from April 12: http://stanford.io/15k1Cc7

    Also, if you haven’t been seeing any meaningful progress in solar, might I say that you haven’t been paying close enough attention. The increase in solar capacity and price drops over the past few years have been pretty incredible, and Germany in particular is doing very well with solar power. Even Australia has just crossed the million household solar system mark, and is now looking like one of the best solar markets in the world.

    Sure, the percentage of overall solar is very low (less than 1 percent), but if you take the exponential growth figures from the past 20 years in solar, and project them out 10-15 years, you get quite a high percentage of overall power; add to that the continuing declining cost. In some sunny places in the world, solar is already reaching grid parity. This is not even taking into account future tech and efficiency innovations. By my reckoning, solar is looking very good! There have been many headlines about solar companies going under, but that’s just the capitalist system at work. It happens with every big, new emerging industry. At first there are many companies, as the industries matures, there will most probably be a few, but big.