Mid-North SA is a variably defined area that extends from around Rhynie (85 km north of Adelaide) in the south to around Jamestown (180 km north of Adelaide) in the north and from Burra in the east to Port Pirie in the west. It is about 80 km wide and is mainly in the northern Mount Lofty Ranges.
Mid-North South Australia is carbon-negativeThe Mid-North is probably the first region in the nation to abate more carbon than it releases into the atmosphere and this is due mainly to wind power!
Total emissions for Australia (about 2014) were 538 million tonnes of greenhouse gasses per year, so on average each Australian is responsible for 23 tonnes each year. Figuring on a population of 43,000 for the Mid-North we can calculate the region's annual emissions at around one million tonnes.
On the other side of the equation our wind farms abated something like three million tonnes of greenhouse carbon dioxide each year by replacing fossil fuel-generated electricity with clean, renewable electricity.
All those who have had some part in supporting the construction of these environmental assets deserve a pat on the back. They will be able to tell their grandchildren that they did their bit to minimise the climate change disaster.
The calculations, for those who are interestedAssuming a conservative capacity factor of 30%, one can calculate an annual generation of about 3,500,000 MWh/year (1,340 × 0.3 × 24 × 365 = 3,521,520), abating about three and a half million tonnes of CO2 per year (3,521,520 × 1.02 = 3,591,950).
So the amount of abatement is more than three times the amount of emissions that the population of the Mid-North would be expected to be responsible for.
Mid-North SA, with its wind farms, is showing what can be doneAt the end of 2015 Australia had about 3 GW of installed solar PV power and about the same amount of installed wind power. There was also some bio-gas energy – mainly from land fill methane recovery – very little solar thermal, geothermal and wave energy, and no tidal energy development.
The big new Snowtown Stage 2 Wind Farm, which I can see from near where I live, had recently been completed. It added 270 MW to Australia's renewable energy generating capacity and increased South Australia's installed wind power to 1475 MW; close to half of Australia's total at the time. In SA 890 MW, 60% of our wind power, was in the Mid-North.
The Mid-North's wind farms reduce Australia's greenhouse gas production by around three million tonnes each year from what it would have been if our power was still being generated by burning fossil fuels. This is a wonderful achievement; a great step toward taking on the climate change and ocean acidification problems.
The population of the five council districts in the Mid-North is 43 000 so our wind farms were generating around 7200 Watts per Mid-North resident. Average home power consumption per person in the Mid-North was around 260 Watts.
In terms of installed wind power the Watts per person in the Mid-North was 21 000, compared to Denmark (by far the leading nation in the world) which had about 860. Australia, as a whole, had about 117 Watts of installed wind power per person and was ranked about 15th among the world's nations.
In a world that is being greatly damaged by climate change and in which
the oceans are steadily becoming more acidic because of the carbon dioxide
that they are being forced to absorb, this renewable energy development
in our own back yard is something of which we, the people of the
Mid-North, should be intensely proud.
Instead, because we are in what may be the slowest nation in the world to
wake up to the climate change threat, rather than pride we have apathy, and
among a significant number of people, ill-informed fear.
Unlike coal-fired power stations, which kill millions of people each year
world wide and cause many more serious illnesses from their
pollution, the Mid-North's wind turbines harm no one.
In fact our wind turbines
save lives by displacing coal-fired power stations.
For example, one of Port Augusta's coal-fired power stations has been closed
down and another only operates about half of each year, largely because of
the electricity generated by the Mid-North's wind farms.
Coming next in the Mid-North, and in Australia, is the Hallett group at 351 MW; (the third biggest wind farm in Australia if considered as one unit).
The Mid-North wind farms are among the most productive in Australia. While the weighted average capacity factor for SE Australia's wind farms is about 35%, the figure for those in the Mid-North is close to 40%. (The weighted average takes into account not just the capacity factor of the wind farms but also the size of each.)
Update – late 2016Not included in the calculations above was the Hornsdale Wind Farm and the second stage of Waterloo Wind farm.
In late 2016 the first stage of Hornsdale was completed and operating, with an installed capacity of 100MW. The second stage, another 100MW, was under construction and the third stage, 109MW, was contracted.
The second stage of Waterloo Wind Farm, 18MW, was operating.
News, August 2017I recently heard that work had started on yet another wind farm between Jamestown and Burra, Willogoleche Wind Farm; another 32 state-of-the-art turbines.
Unlike most of the residents of the Mid-North, who are largely apathetic about climate change and wind farms, the people of Snowtown are proud of their wind farm and are very pleased to make it a positive for their town.
They deserve to be proud of themselves; the world needs more people like them.
|The completed Snowtown Wind Farm, first and second stages; 2014/06/11
"A wind turbine operating for three hours reduces CO2 emissions as much as taking one car off the roads for a year."
"A wind turbine generates as much emissions-free electricity as about 2000 typical roof-top solar PV installations."
"Up to February 2014 Port Pirie, the only city in Mid-North SA, had a total of 6MW of solar installations. These would generate about as much emissions-free electricity as one wind turbine."
The above statements apply to utility scale wind turbines (about 3 MW) operating in mainland Australia including in SA's Mid-North at the average capacity factor of 35% seen in the National Electricity Market. The abatement figures are based on a report by Sinclair Knight Merz.
Similar, simple but true, statements are combined with turbine images on another page.
Hornsdale Wind Farm substation and batteries (Hornsdale Power Reserve). The original (100MW, 129MWh) battery is near the centre of the image, the newer addition (another 50MW/64.5MWh battery) is on the left.
Flowering fields of canola can be seen on the left and there are three of the total 99 wind turbines in the picture.
Our car can just be seen near the T junction; its relatively tiny size shows the scale of the wind turbine.
The annual payments to the farmers for hosting the turbines must have made a huge difference to the viability of the farms.
There is a yellow flowering canola crop in the distance.
This group of photos were taken using my DJI Mavik Mini drone.
Looking north at some of the turbines of Stage 3 of Hornsdale Wind Farm.
This and the next few photos were taken with my Canon Powershot S3 IS. The Powershot does not have the very high definition of the Mavik Mini drone (and is about 20 years older), so there is no high definition version of this image on this page.
The photo was taken from near the Hornsdale substation.
Interestingly, in the three hours or so that we were at the wind farm, we heard very little sound from the turbines. There was mostly just a low hum from some machinery in the turbines, perhaps a cooling fam or a motor to turn the turbines into the wind. At the beginning of our visit there was little wind, but it built up during the day. At no time did we hear the 'swish, swish' sound that one often hears from wind turbines.
Canon Powershot S3 IS
North Brown Hill, also 2021/09/23
This photo is on one of the turbines of the North Brown Hill Wind Farm, which was built a few years before Hornsdale WF.
It was taken using my DJI Mavik Mini drone.
Canon Powershot S3 IS
OperatingSince writing this page Snowtown Stage 2 Wind Farm (270 MW) has been completed, Willogoleche Wind Farm (119 MW) has been built near Hallett, Stage 2 of Waterloo Wind Farm (18 MW) has been built and all three stages of Hornsdale Wind Farm (315 MW) have been built near Jamestown, all in Mid-North South Australia.
Proposed and approvedBoth the Crystal Brook Energy Park, involving wind, solar and a battery (total of up to 125 MW wind and up to 150 MW solar) and Twin Creek Wind Farm (up to 185 MW) have received government approval. (Note: While it was widely reported that Twin Creek has been given approval I have also read that it was approved by the State Commission Assessment Panel [SCAP] I have not heard that it has received ministerial approval.)
ProposedThe giant Goyder Renewables Zone project was announced in September. It involves up to 2000 MW of wind power, up to 1000 MW of solar and a battery of up to 1500 MW.
Then there are the proposed solar projects (without linked wind power):
That's a total of 4,700 MW proposed new renewable energy in the Mid-North (2,310 MW of wind and 2,390 MW of solar), nearly equal to all the wind power in Australia at the end of 2017 (solar at the time was a small fraction of that). Even if only half of it is built, Mid-North South Australia looks like holding its place as Renewables Leader in Australia for the foreseeable future.
Late OctoberI've just read of an 8.9 MW (DC) solar farm that has been built at Baroota, near Port Germein on northern Spencer Gulf. It is discussed in an article in RenewEconomy, dated 2019/10/22 and written by Sophie Vorrath. It was reported that the 23,200 panels were installed in only eight weeks using Meralli's "Belectric PEG frame system" and that a battery is being considered as a future addition.
RenewEconomy of 2021/09/21:
"The final turbine has been installed at what will be Australia’s biggest wind and solar hybrid facility, with “energisation” expected soon as the connection approval is finalised and first production due in the next three months. The 317MW Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park (PAREP) combines 50 wind turbines and more than 250,000 solar modules, with 210MW of wind capacity and 107MW of solar capacity."Port Augusta is a little to the north of the Mid-North region.
On this site
Relating to energyBase load electricity
Crystal Brook Energy Park Supporters
Elec. gen. methods compared
Glossary of technical terms relating to wind power
South Australia's success with renewable power
Northern SA's renewables
Wind power in Australia
Impressive renewable energy developments in Australia
Pumped hydro energy storage
A Tale of Two (or Three) Cities (and sundry towns)
Let's have a progressive Port Pirie
Some observations of Western Australia, particularly relating to its slow take-up of renewable energy in the decade or so up to 2023 (I moved from SA to WA in February 2022).
Relating to climate changeClimate change
Climate change disasters and the Australian government's actions
Greatest crime in history
Major threatened disasters compared
The end of coal
Coal seam gas: an environmental disaster
The Turnbull Australian Government
On the InternetA glossary of the energy debate; The Conversation.
The big three Australian power generators see no future in coalAGL's statement on the Liddell closure.
Energy Australia boss says there are much better options than keeping the old Liddell coal-fired power station running for a few more years.
Origin Energy boss rejects coal