A Guide to Wind Farms in Australia

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Contrary to popular belief, wind does a lot more than just flip your umbrella inside out – it’s one of Australia’s biggest green energy sources alongside hydropower. And while we might’ve all seen a wind turbine or two driving around in outback Oz, not all of us would be able to explain how it works outside of just giant spinning blades. If you’re looking to brush up on your wind power knowledge and where to find wind farms in Australia, read on to find out more in this Canstar Blue guide – we’ve made it a breeze.

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How does wind power work?

Wind power is generated through wind turbines, where kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy. The propellers at the top of the tower catch the wind’s currents, which then spin gears connected to a generator. The generator is the final step, converting the power into electricity. It’s more common than not to see wind farms in high up places simply due to there being more wind at higher elevations, with many wind turbines having a build height of up to 160m.

Wind power in Australia

While turbine-generated power has been around in Australia for years, wind power generation on a utility scale didn’t hit our shores until the late 1980s. In the following decade, wind farm construction continued to grow slowly, with the start of the 2000s bringing in a much larger wave of new projects with much larger generation capacities.

Nowadays, the Clean Energy Council estimates that Australia’s wind farms produced just more than 30% of Australia’s clean energy in 2018, and 7% of its total electricity, making 2018 the best year in Australia’s history for wind power generation.

How many wind farms does Australia have?

According to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), at the end of 2018 there were 94 wind farms operating in Australia, totaling 5,679MW in total energy capacity. And with more than 20 projects lined up in construction in 2019, this number is set to grow considerably in the coming years.

Australia’s largest wind farm

The biggest wind farm in Australia is owned by AGL, which is the Coopers Gap Wind Farm. When fully constructed, it will have a capacity of 453MW, producing about 1,510,00MWh of energy a year, according to AGL, which the energy giant claims will power approximately 264,000 average-sized Australian homes.

Located around 250km north of Brisbane, the site of the wind farm is on land that is used mainly for cattle grazing and farming. According to AGL, the structures will reach a total height of 180m above ground level, with each blade being about 70m long. As of June 2019, Coopers Gap begun generating electricity.

Wind farms in Australia map

Canstar Blue has put together an interactive map detailing where the 10 largest in-operation wind farms are located in Australia, with additional details as to their capacity. Hover over the image for more information.

Australian wind farms location, capacity and ownership

Let’s delve into specifics. We’ve put together some information about the largest wind farms in each state by capacity. Not all states in Australia have more than a handful of wind farms, and the tables below reflect that.

Wind farms in NSW

Here is a list of the 10 largest wind farms currently operational, under construction or commissioned in NSW.

Project Ownership Capacity
Rye Park Wind Farm Tilt Renewables 327MW
Yass Valley Wind Farm Epuron 284MW
Sapphire Wind Farm CWP Renewables 270MW
Silverton Wind Farm PARF 200MW
White Rock Wind Farm Goldwind-CECEP 175MW
Gullen Range Wind Farm Goldwind-JNEC 165MW
Capital Wind Farm Infigen Energy 141MW
Crudine Ridge Wind Prospect CWP 135MW
Boco Rock Wind Farm Wind Prospect CWP 113MW
Bodangora Wind Farm Infigen Energy 113MW

Source: National Wind Farm Commissioner

Wind farms in Victoria

Below is a list of the 10 largest wind farms currently operational, under construction or commissioned in Victoria.

Project Ownership Capacity
Macarthur Wind Farm AGL Energy-Meridian Energy 420MW
Murra Warra Wind Farm RES Australia 350MW
Moorabool Wind Project WestWind Energy 321MW
Ararat Wind Farm RES Australia 240MW
Berrybank Union Fenosa Wind Australia 237MW
Waubra Wind Farm Acciona Energy-ANZ Infra 192MW
Lal Lal Wind Farm WestWind Energy 150MW
Crowlands/Glenlofty Pacific Hydro 140MW
Ryan’s Corner Union Fenosa Wind Australia 134MW
Mt Gellibrand Wind Farm Acciona Energy 132MW

Source: National Wind Farm Commissioner

Wind farms in Queensland

Here is a list of the seven largest wind farms currently operational, under construction or commissioned in Queensland.

Project Ownership Capacity
Coopers Gap AGL Energy 460MW
Crows Nest Wind Farm Energreen 200MW
Mt Emerald Wind Farm RATCH-Australia 180MW
Forsayth Wind Farm Infigen Energy 75MW
High Road Wind Farm Transfield Services 50MW
Kennedy Energy Park Windlab 41MW
Windy Hill Wind Farm RATCH-Australia 12MW

Source: National Wind Farm Commissioner

Wind farms in South Australia

Below is a list of the 10 largest wind farms currently operational, under construction or commissioned in South Australia.

Project Ownership Capacity
Snowtown Wind Farm Trust Power 368MW
Hornsdale Wind Farm Neoen 213MW
Lake Bonney 2 Infigen Energy 159MW
Hallett 4 Wind Farm AGL Energy 132MW
Lincoln Gap Wing Energy Solutions 124MW
Waterloo Wind Farm EnergyAustralia 111MW
Woakwine Beacon Energy 100MW
Hallet 1 Wind Farm AGL Energy 94MW
Wattle Point Wind Farm Infrastructure Capital Group 91MW
Lake Bonney 1 Infigen Energy 80MW

Source: National Wind Farm Commissioner

Wind farms in Western Australia

Below is a list of the 10 largest wind farms currently operational, under construction or commissioned in Western Australia.

Project Ownership Capacity
Collgar Wind Farm UBS-Rest Super 206MW
Walkaway Wind Farm Infigen Energy 89MW
Emu Downs Wind Farm APA Group 80MW
Mumbida Wind Farm Energy Infrastructure Trust 55MW
Albany Wind Farm Verve Energy 35MW
Nine Mile Wind Farm Synergy 3.6MW
Mt Barker Community Wind Farm Mt Barker Power 2.4MW
Ten Mile Lagoon Wind Farm Synergy 2MW
Kalbarri Wind Project Synergy 1.6MW
Denmark Community Wind Farm Denmark Community Wind Farm 1.6MW

Source: National Wind Farm Commissioner

Wind farms in Tasmania

Here is a list of the four largest wind farms currently operational, under construction or commissioned in Tasmania

Project Ownership Capacity
Musselroe Wind Farm Hydro Tasmania 168MW
Studland Bay Wind Farm Woolnorth Wind Farm Holdings 75MW
Bluff Point Wind Farm Woolnorth Wind Farm Holdings 65MW
King Island Wind Farm Hydro Tasmania 2.5MW

Source: National Wind Farm Commissioner

Should Australia invest more into wind power?

While there are arguments for and against expanding renewable energy sources, what is clear is that Australia is heading towards growing its wind power and general renewable energy portfolio. We’re no scientists, but the widespread investment in wind power stands alone as a testament to the reliability of this energy generation method.

Can I use only wind power?

The short answer is no. Power is generated through a range of avenues such as coal burning, solar panels and hydropower plants, which all feed into the grid to bring us electricity. And while much like solar panels, you can purchase micro wind turbines to provide electricity on a residential or small-business scale, there’s still a while to go before this becomes a cost-effective option for regular Aussies.

Whilst this would certainly help bring down your power bill, you don’t need a wind-only system to save on electricity costs. Follow the link below to see if you could be saving money on your bills.

Image credits: Mimadeo/shutterstock.com, thehub.agl.com.au, imagevixen/shutterstock.com

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