The author of these pages is not beholden to any company, lobby group, or government. *

Wind power home page

As of June 2019 I will no longer attempt to keep information about individual wind farms and overall wind farm development in Australia up to date on these pages.
I will continue to provide the facts, counter the lies, and expose those who lie, about wind power.


Main sections

Introduction | Benefits of wind power | Evolution of wind turbines | Chronology of wind farm construction | Future of wind power | Wind power capacity in Australia | Wind farms under construction | Major wind farms in Australia | Wind farm power generation in Aust. | Community funding | How does Australia compare? | Wind power in territories |


Acknowledgements | About these pages | General index | Wind farm index | Search Commentary


Tourism and wind farms | CO2 abatement by wind farms | Steps in building a wind farm | Limits to growth | World wind power | Wind turbines and sailing ships | Number of homes supplied | Level playing field | How big can wind turbines get? | Energy return on investment | Wind forecasting | Community investment in wind energy | Payments to land-owners | Small wind disadvantaged | Wind turbine art | Differences in turbines | Community wind farms | Two Senate inquiries | Opinion surveys | Councils and wind farms | Motivation of supporters and objectors | Who opposes wind power development? | About these pages


Wind power installed by states | Wind power installed per capita | Operating wind farms, MW generated | Emissions intensity | Biggest wind farms in Oz | Capacity factors of conventional power stations | Capacity factors of wind farms | Generation from SE Australian wind farms | Installed wind power, World and Oz | Energy return on investment


Chronology of wind farm construction | Installed wind power | Installed wind power, by wind farm | Wind farms under construction | Major wind farms in Australia | Wind farm power generation and capacity factors in Aust. | Leading countries in wind power | Energy return on investment

Using these pages: some hints

Most of the pages of 'Wind in the Bush' are set out like reference books. There is a contents list at the top of each page and at least one index at the bottom of almost all pages. Use these to find the subject you want, or use CTRL F to find words or phrases that interest you. There is also a search box on the left. All the main pages of 'Wind in the Bush' are listed at the top left of this page and at the top of each of the states' pages.


Everything I have written on these pages that is not clearly just opinion was true to the best of my knowledge at the time I wrote it. If anyone believes that I have been dishonest on any point I'd be please to hear from them; not just with vague accusations, but with specific information on what I have written that is wrong, where it is, and giving evidence indicating that it is wrong.

Created as a separate page 2008/03/03, last edited 2024/05/28 – ©
Information about wind farms that I have missed, additional interesting information,
or corrections for anything that I have got wrong, would be appreciated.
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©

Altered 2018/07/07


Renewable energy in Oz
Graph credit: The Australia Institute
The graph on the right was published by The Australia Institute in its Climate and Energy National Energy Emissions Audit of July 2018.

It shows that total renewable energy generation share in Australia has gone from under 7% to nearly 18% in the ten years to the end of June 2018.

The share made up of hydro power had changed little in the period, wind power provided the greatest growth, while roof-top solar was not a long way behind.

It is interesting that while 'Grid solar and biomass' were not big at the end of the period, large-scale solar PV was growing at a remarkably high rate. Expect to see it making up a much larger part of Australia's total renewables in the near future.

Wind power is also undergoing a growth spurt at the time this graph was produced, there were then 18 wind farms with a total of 3.2 GW of installed capacity under construction in Australia. When in operation these wind farms could be expected to increase the amount of wind power generation by 68%.

Perhaps the most positive thing about all this is that the more recent growth has happened during the Abbott and Turnbull governments, both of which did their best to slow renewable energy growth and support the coal industry in Australia. It seems that renewable energy is now unstoppable!

Operating Australian wind farms, installed capacity in Megawatts – by states
Wind Power in Oz
As of the end of December 2014 – Total 3618 MW
States percentages: NSW, 7.6%; Qld. 0.3%; SA, 40.8%; Tas., 8.5%; Vic., 29.5%; WA., 13.3%
Some States' pages have pie diagrams showing individual wind farms
Wind power in per-capita terms – May 2015
Watts wind power per capita by states
This is a partial update of the graph below
(Installed wind power in the Mid-North region of South Australia was 21,000 Watts per person in 2015.)
Wind power in per-capita terms – end of 2010
Watts wind power per capita by states
Populations (2010), NSW, 7.2m; Vic, 5.5m; Qld, 4.5m; WA, 2.3m; SA, 1.6m; Tas, 0.5m; Aust., 22m; Denmark, 5.5m; Spain, 47m
Denmark and Spain are the nations with the greatest installed wind power per capita in the world, they are shown for comparison. Since producing this graph I have heard that SA is now slightly behind Denmark.
Operating Australian wind farms, average Megawatts generated
By states
(Only those farms listed by the AEMO)
Wind Power in Oz
As of the end of June 2012 – Total 641 MW
Some States' pages have pie diagrams showing individual wind farms
Components in a simplified wind turbine
Turbine construction
Diagram credit US Congressional Research Service
The gearing, in particular, is simplified; typically the generator spins about 90 times as fast as the rotor.
Wind generation overtakes nuclear in China
Nuclear and wind in China
Wind is overtaking nuclear, next one to go will be coal.
Graph credit Earth Policy Institute
These pages discuss matters that relate to wind-generated electricity on the utility scale, especially as it is developing in Australia, but many of the pages also have global relevance. Utility turbines are usually a megawatt or more in capacity; I have not included information on domestic wind turbines that typically generate no more than a few kilowatts.

The situation in 2018

The fact that South Australia went from nothing in early 2003 to around 39% wind-generated electricity and 9% solar by 2018 while Australia as a whole had only about 6% wind power shows that Australia could be doing a lot more than it is.

According to the Clean Energy Council's 2018 Clean Energy Report wind generated electricity in Australia made up 5.72% of Australia's total generation while the corresponding figure for hydro power was 5.74%. With about 3 GW of wind farms under construction to be added to the 4.7 GW already operating at the end of 2017 wind power will increase greatly in future while hydro will not. So wind power is set to be far and away the biggest generator of sustainable energy in Australia, at least until and unless solar PV catches up. The Clean Energy Council's report put hydro at 33.9%, wind at 33.8% and solar at 22.6% of total renewable electricity generation at the end of 2017.

More about these pages

For information on specific Australian wind farms refer either to wind farm pages on individual states (box above left) or the Wind farm index.

I have aimed at facts; facts that have been selected to inform open-minded people about wind farms, but also facts that counter some of the lies perpetrated by wind farm opponents. Some of the facts on these pages are not particularly palatable to wind farm proponents, many will be highly unpalatable to wind farm opponents.


Wind power opposition and climate science denial

Those who oppose wind power often deny climate change. It seems that the reasoning is something like this: "If climate change is real then there is a strong need for development of renewable energy to replace fossil fuel energy. If I deny the reality of climate change then I have a stronger argument against wind power."
Greenhouse/climate change and ocean acidification are looming disasters whose massive proportions most people don't seem to grasp. Both are largely caused by the burning of fossil fuels. A 2012 World Health Organisation (WHO) report, summarised in The Guardian, states that air pollution is the world's single biggest environmental health risk.

The main sources of ambient air pollution are internal combustion engine-powered motor vehicles and coal burning. The main sources of air pollution in homes are coal smoke and wood smoke. Motor vehicles can be electrified, coal and wood burning in homes can be replaced with electricity, and the electricity for both can be generated using renewables.

The only morally and environmentally acceptable alternatives to fossil fuel energy are to:

  1. severely cut back on energy use, and this is highly unatractive to almost everyone, or
  2. develop sustainable energy; and one of the most important and technologically mature forms of sustainable energy is wind power.
In Australia's specific case, there is a huge amount of money in fossil fuels, particularly coal. The fossil fuel lobby has a strong hold over our 'democratic' government and both major parties, but the Liberals in particular, seem to be 'under the thumb' of the coal miners, and development of renewables is suffering because of this. Australia has the natural resources to be a world leader in wind and solar power in particular, but in fact is trailing a long way behind countries like Germany and Denmark.


Updates to these pages are added continuously and are extracted from the various news media, scholarly journals, and by actively seeking information from wind farm proposers/owners, governments, non-government organisations and interested individuals. I'd be pleased to receive comment from anyone who believes that any items here are wrong, incomplete, or out of date (my email address is near the top of each page).

Wind power potential

Australia has huge potential for wind farm development, but if that potential is to be developed governments must take a more pro-active part. Apart from the artificially low price of fossil-fuel-generated power, and the lack of support from Coalition governments, the greatest obstacle to the development of wind power – and sustainable power in general – is the lack of high capacity electricity transmission lines where they are needed; and no governments, of either major party, are showing any willingness to build them. This might be compared with Texas, where the state government is building transmission lines into areas with top-quality wind resources in anticipation of wind farm development.

Where are we compared with the rest of the world?

The World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) report 2013 stated that the total wind power was 319 gigawatts (GW. Of that, 91 GW was in China, 61 GW in USA, 35 GW in Germany, 23 GW in Spain, 20 GW in India and 11 GW in the UK. Wind power provided 4% of worldwide electricity demand. (Also see How does Australia compare?.)

The Clean Energy Council reported that:

"In 2013, Australia's wind farms produced over a quarter of the country's clean energy... Wind power supplied 4 per cent of Australia's overall electricity during the year.

Australia had 1639 wind turbines spread across 68 wind farms at the end of 2013 [a total of 3240MW] , as well as one small wind farm located in the Australian Antarctic Territory. Six new projects came online during 2013, including the Southern Hemisphere's largest operational wind farm, at Macarthur in western Victoria [420MW]."
In 2014 the 270MW Snowtown 2 Wind Farm came on line in South Australia, making Snowtown WF up to a total of 370MW, the second biggest in the country.

For more information on where Australia fits in the world picture see How does Australia compare?.

In Australia's wind power potential I have calculated that if the best wind resources of Australia were developed at least 90 GW of wind power is possible. (This excludes areas of denser population, areas of tourism value, conservation and other parks.)

The Howard Federal Government had a Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) which aimed at Australia having something under 2% of its electricity generated by renewable means. Scientists have warned that we must reduce world greenhouse gas production rates by 60%. The Rudd government legislated for twenty percent renewable energy by 2020 in or about 2008. This target was later reduced by the Abbott Coalition government.

Some speculation

Speculation: threat to fossil fuel industry

Around 2005, when wind generated a negligible proportion of Australia's electricity, the fossil fuel industry didn't see the wind industry as a threat. In 2012, with wind generating about a quarter of South Australia's electricity and a steadily increasing percentage of electricity australia-wide, the fossil fuel industry has realised that it has been caught with its pants down and that the wind energy industry is a serious competitor. It is reacting by trying, by any means available to it, to discredit wind power and sustainable energy in general. In this, through the pressure it is placing on politicians in the major parties, and the Liberal Party in particular, it seems to be having quite a bit of success.

Coincidentally, just after I wrote the paragraph above, I read a piece in The Guardian titled "Conservative thinktanks step up attacks against Obama's clean energy strategy" which discusses devious ways in which the fossil fuel industry is trying to undermine the wind energy industry in the USA.

While Labor is not so pro fossil fuel as Liberal, it is still content to leave the mining industry (a big part of which is coal) with some $4b of subsidies annually. For example, mining is exempt from the diesel excise, while the wind and solar industries are not.

Speculation: The fossil fuel industry funds climate change denial – why not also a dis-information campaign against wind power?

In 2006 the Royal Society, probably the most prestigeous, certainly the most venerable, scientific society in the world, wrote to ExxonMobil asking them to stop funding a dis-information campaign on climate change. If the fossil fuel industry funds climate change denial, why would they be above funding a campaign against wind power?

Speculation: anti-wind power movement

In my experience wind farm proponents often avoid mentioning things that are to the disadvantage of wind power, but rarely lie; wind farm opponents commonly lie and are often woefully ill-informed. Two examples:
  • Randall Bell, President of the Australian Landscape Guardians, a prominent anti-wind-power group, has said on national TV (ABC Four Corners, 2011/07/25) that the battle against wind farms is a political battle, not a scientific argument, and that he will use any weapon he can to win that battle. On the same program he said that "wind will never deliver on [the government's 20% of electricity by 2020 target], not in 100 million years".
  • Peter Richard Mitchell of the Technical and Economic Committee of the Australian Landscape Guardians (and also a prominent member of the Waubra Foundation), in his testimony to the Senate Committee on Rural Wind Farms at Ballarat, spoke of "the multiple and complete failure of wind power generation".
Yet, while the first wind farm in South Australia was built only in 2003, just eight years later wind was providing 26% of the electricity generated in SA. Over the same period total power generation and consumption in SA have increased, the percentage of SA's power generated by coal has fallen from 42% to 25% and greenhouse gas production from the electrical generation sector has decreased. This is a remarkable achievement and there is no reason a similar feat could not be managed in the whole of the country. (By 2016 SA's wind farms were generating around 33% of the state's power and the last coal-fired power station had been closed.)

The anti-wind-power movement with their misinformation campaigns does threaten the development of renewable energy in Australia. While the NIMBY principle (not in my back yard) and envy of those who are profiting from wind power are involved, there are some people who honestly believe that their health may be adversely affected by turbines and there are those who believe wind turbines are spoiling the appearance of our hills. Wind power does have problems, but they are often exaggerated.

Updated 2012/10/23

The benefits of wind power

Emissions intensity on the Australian NEM
Emissions intensity
Emissions intensity (EI) from the four large states in the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) and the average for the whole of the NEM, including Tasmania. Tasmania's EI is off-scale at the bottom of this graph.
Graph credit – Professor Mike Sandiford, University of Melbourne; data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)
Note the very large decline in South Australia's EI; due almost entirely to the introduction of wind power. (Also see South Australia's success in changing toward renewable energy.)
We hear a lot about the problems and alleged problems of wind power, much less about its benefits.

The most important point in favour of wind power is that the electricity generated replaces power that would (especially in Australia) otherwise be generated by burning fossil fuels. So the bigger the proportion of wind power in our electricity supply the greater the reduction in the production of the atmospheric greenhouse gasses that cause climate change and ocean acidification.

A community where a wind farm is built is advantaged by:

  • Employment during construction and to a lesser extent operation.
  • Business for local contractors during construction; electrical, transport, concreting, etc.
  • A boost to local businesses: hotels, motels and other accommodation providers, cafes, restaurants, hardware shops, gift shops, etc.; again especially during construction and to a lesser extent during operation.
  • The annual land lease payments to farmers for the turbine sites.
  • Many wind farmers provide a community fund for the life of the wind farm.

Some of the advantages that wind power has over other forms of electricity generation are:
  • It is environmentally sustainable.
  • Unlike fossil fuel-fired power stations it produces negligible pollution; the pollution from burning fossil fuels has serious health implications.
  • The health improvements due to moving away from polluting fossil fuels can save more money than it costs to move to renewable energy.
  • Wind turbines are highly resistant to damage from natural disasters.
    • Their resistance to earthquakes and tsunamis was demonstrated by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011/03/11; None of the 1746 utility-scale wind turbines in Japan were damaged.
    • Flooding in Victoria put coal mines out of action in July 2012; wind farms, of course, were unaffected.
    • Hurricane Sandy, called a 'frankenstorm', caused huge damage in eastern USA in October 2012; but very little damage to wind turbines was reported.
  • It reduces the exposure of the economy to fuel price volatility.
  • There is huge potential for wind farm development in Australia using currently available technology.
  • Wind farms can be built with little environmental damage and little loss of economically productive land.
  • Wind generated electricity, on a level playing field, is as cheap as most conventional forms of power generation and cheaper than most of the other sustainable forms.
  • Wind power is a more mature technology than is solar. The AEMO South Australia Supply and Demand Outlook report of 2011 showed (Figure 3) that total installed wind capacity in SA is 15 times that of solar. (The difference in generated power would be even greater.)
  • Unlike 'clean coal' (coal with sequestration), which may be achieved at some time in the future at an unknown cost, wind farms are being built now at a competitive cost.
  • The presence of wind turbines on ridges will reduce the number of fires started by lightning strikes by safely conducting the lightning to earth rather than it starting bushfires.

    CO2 reduction from one wind turbine

    One typical (2 MW) wind turbine in Australia can be expected to produce over 6000 megawatt hours of electricity each year. If this replaces coal-fired power, then the CO2 released to the atmosphere will be reduced by 6000 tonnes each year, if it replaces oil or gas-fired power, CO2 released each year is reduced by about 3000 tonnes.
  • Mining, concentrating and refining the uranium used for nuclear power uses large quantities of fossil fuels; the 'fuel' for wind farms is free and sustainable. There is no waste from wind farming that is difficult to dispose of and nothing that can be used for nefarious purposes. The lead-time for building a nuclear power station is ten to fifteen years, for a wind farm it is about three years.
  • Wind farms, once operating, produce negligible greenhouse gasses. The greenhouse gasses produced in the construction of wind farms are 'abated' within the first few months of operation. Coal-fired power stations are one of the largest producers of greenhouse gasses on the planet; in terms of tonnes of CO2 per GWh of electricity, oil fired power stations are less polluting than coal. Gas-fired power too is less polluting than coal, but there is some leakage of the very potent greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere from the gas industry, and even without this, gas-fired power produces about half the CO2/GWh of coal.
  • Wind farms use a negligible amount of water when operating, and very moderate amounts during construction. By comparison, coal-fired power stations typically use more than a million litres of water for each gigawatt-hour of electricity generated; nuclear power stations and even many of the larger solar power stations also require significant amounts of cooling water. Wind turbines do not use water for cooling.
  • Compared to solar power wind farms use little land and a single utility-scale wind turbine generates about 2000 times as much electricity as a typical roof-top solar power installation (see elsewhere). (Solar and wind are compared elsewhere on this site.)
  • Once built wind turbines keep producing power without further costs apart from general maintenance. Should the economy of a country with a large wind energy resource collapse, its wind turbines will go on generating power while it might not be able to buy fuel for its more conventional power stations.
  • Turbines on the tops of ridges act like lightning conductors and safely conduct the energy of lightning strikes to earth; if the turbines were not on the ridges the same lightning could cause fires.

CO2 abatement by wind farms

SKM report, Wind Farm Investment, Employment and Carbon Abatement in Australia

Also see Benefits of wind power, above, and CO2 and wind farms on the Wind-Problems page.
Sinclair Knight Merz, an engineering and consulting firm with global capacity, conducted a study into the benefits of wind power in Australia; it was published in June 2012 by the Clean Energy Council.

Average abatement achieved by 100 MW wind farm at 35% capacity factor in the National Electricity Market (NEM)
RegionAbatement intensity
(t CO2e/MWh)
Emissions abated
(t CO2e p.a.)
Equivalent cars removed from road
National Electricity Market (NSW, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic) 0.87266 70062 000
South West Interconnected System (WA) 0.76233 00054 200
Darwin Katherine Interconnected System (NT) 0.51156 40036 400
National0.80246 20057 300
NSW0.89273 90063 500
Qld0.89273 00063 500
SA1.02314 10073 100
Tas0.45137 20031 900
Vic1.10337 30078 400
't CO2e/MWh' is tonnes of carbon dioxide from electricity, per Megawatt-hour

What the above figures tell us is that for every Megawatt-hour of electricity that is generated by an Australian wind farm, on average, there is nearly a tonne less greenhouse carbon dioxide released than there would be if the wind farms were not there. Coal-fired power stations (typical of Victoria) release about a tonne of CO2 for every MWh they generate, other states have a lower proportion of coal-fired power; Tasmania, in particular, has a high percentage of clean hydro power.

Frequency Control and Ancillary Services (FCAS)

From 2017/12/19 to 2018/02/01 AEMO (the Australian Energy Market Operator) ran a trial using Hornsdale 2 Wind Farm and the Hornsdale Power Reserve for FCAS.

FCAS is a technical subject of which I have little understanding, but AEMO reported that:

"The use of the Hornsdale Wind Farm (and the Hornsdale Power Reserve, better known as the world’s largest battery) in FCAS managed to successfully lower prices during an event on 14 January 2018, reducing them down to $248/MWh from the historically observed $9,000/MWh.

This is expected to have reduced the cost of the five-hour local South Australian FCAS requirement by approximately $3.5 million!"
For information on the trial please look up either or both of the following links.

ARENA: 'Results in from Hornsdale Windfarm FCAS trial'.

AEMO Energy Live: 'Wind Farm trial shows promising results for system security'.

Tourism and wind farms

A viewing pod on a wind turbine tower at Vancouver, Canada
Viewing pod on turbine
Image credit: The Globe and Mail, Canada
There are a few wind farms where guided tours are offered; there are a few wind farms that have viewing and information areas; there are a few wind farms where events such as walks, runs and rides beneath the turbines are organised periodically, but in general there is little for a tourist to do at a wind farm.

More could be done to encourage tourism by the wind farm operators and if more visits by the general public were encouraged it would help to increase awareness of the facts about wind power and dispell some of the myths about noise and health issues, etc.

The photo on the right is of a viewing pod on a wind turbine tower overlooking Vancouver, Canada. More can be read about this at Inside Vancouver. A similar viewing pod on one of the turbines at the proposed Ceres Project on Yorke Peninsula could provide oustanding views of the generally fairly flat Peninsula as well as across the Gulf Saint Vincent to Adelaide.

Wind turbines can also become art objects.

Wind farms that do have something for tourists beyond just views of the turbines from nearby roads

Below are some that I know of (I'd be happy to list more if anyone can tell me of them).
  • Albany (WA): Walks through a scenic coastal area, amid interesting native vegetation, near the feet of a few turbines, with information.
  • Challicum Hills (Vic): There is a viewing/information area, but it is not close to any of the turbines.
  • Codrington (Vic): There is an information area on the side of the nearby highway, several kilometres from the turbines. There were tours, but I don't know if they are still available.
  • Mount Millar (SA): An information area near the base of one turbine.
  • Salmon Beach (Esperance, WA): This was the first wind farm in Australia; now decommissioned, but one turbine is still standing in its original position and one has been moved into town; information at both.
  • Starfish Hill (SA): Access to within a few metres from the foot of a turbine, a good view, and some information.
  • Ten Mile Lagoon (Esperance, WA): A side road from a very scenic coastal drive leads to an information shelter on top of a hill with a good view. Walking trails through native vegetation nearby.
  • Toora (Vic): An information area near one of the turbines.
  • Wattle Point (SA): Shelter shed with information fairly close to one of the turbines.
  • Woodlawn (NSW): An inaugural run through the wind farm in November 2012 attracted 450 participants.
  • Woolnorth (Tas): Tours are avaialable (I believe).

Altered 2018/08/13

Evolution of wind turbines in Australia

Right back into pre-history wind has been used to move boats. Wikipedia says that the first practical windmills were in use in Sistan, a region of Iran and bordering Afghanistan, at least by the 9th century. In 2019 it seems that there were a few of a similar design still operating in Nashtifan, in the same area (see Nashtifan Windmills, atlasobscura, there are also videos on the Internet).

Wind power began being harnessed in Europe in the twelfth century. It was used to grind grain, power early industrial machines such as heavy hammers, and to pump water. With the coming of steam power in the nineteenth century, around the time Australia was settled by Europeans, wind and water power went into decline; steam power was available on demand.

Recently climate change and the end of coal have become important, and mankind is having to 'kick the habit' of cheap energy. It is not easy.

The largest turbines built in Australia – by date
Turbine evolution in Australia
The first public electricity supply (or utility-scale; not household or farm supply) wind turbines in Australia were the 60 kW units built at Salmon Beach, Esperance, Western Australia. From that time wind turbines have tended to become steadily larger, up to 4.8 MW and even 5.3 MW (Bango Wind Farm near Yass, NSW) by late 2019. Smaller turbines have also been constructed in particular cases and for particular purposes.

The graph on the right shows some of the larger turbines built in Australia in particular years up to 2008. The Australian record in the evolution of turbine sizes very much follows that world-wide. For several practical reasons it seems that wind turbines (or at least on-shore wind turbines) cannot get much bigger. The growth in turbine sizes shown on the graph on the right was exponential but while turbine size increased after 2008, it did not do so at an exponential rate.

Some of the larger turbines built in Australia in particular years
Salmon Beach, Esperance, WA198760
Coober Pedy, SA 1990150
Ten Mile Lagoon, Esperance, WA1993225
Crookwell, NSW 1998600
Blayney, NSW 2000660
Codrington, Victoria 20011300
Albany, WA 20011800
Canunda, SA 20052000
Snowtown, SA 20082100
Lake Bonney #2, SA20083000
Sapphire, Victoria 20173600
Unlike in the USA, where public electrical supply turbines were developed much earlier, tubular steel, rather than steel lattice towers, have always been used in Australia. Elsewhere in the world some down-wind turbines (with the blades on the down-wind side of the tower) have been built in the past; only the up-wind type has ever been built in Australia. All utility scale wind turbines in Australia are of the horizontal axis type.

The turbines listed in the table on the right (the same as those graphed above) were among the largest constructed in Australia in the given years.

Limits to turbine size

  • Size and cost of the cranes that are used for turbine erection. Already crane hire fees (I've heard a figure of $30 000 per day) is a major cost in wind farm construction and maintenance. Off-shore turbines up to 6 MW have recently been built in Europe; it is easier to move a huge floating crane from one turbine to another than a similar crane on hill-tops.
  • Size and weight of components that must be transported by road.
  • Potential for aviation and radar interference.
  • Material fatigue issues.
  • Local opposition to siting (the bigger the turbines the more conspicuous they are and the greater the area from which they can be seen).
A fuller comment on this topic is elsewhere on this page.

Photos of some of these turbines are below; larger photos are generally available via the links.

Evolution of Australian wind turbines in pictures
Turbine in Esperance Coober Pedy turbine Ten Mile Lagoon
Salmon Beach, 60 kW, 1987
Coober Pedy, 150 kW, 1990
Photo credit: Greg Farkas
Ten Mile Lagoon, Esperance,
225 kW, 1993
Codrington turbines Albany turbine Turbine and fog
Codrington, 1300 kW, 2001
Albany, 1800 kW, 2001
Snowtown, 2100 kW, 2008

Waterloo tubines
Waterloo, 3000 kW, 2010

Turbine blade materials

So far as I know, up to 2011 most turbine blades were made of fibre-glass reinforced epoxy, possibly with some balsa wood being incorporated; but in late 2011 Nordex, at least, announced its first carbon-fibre turbine blades.

Edited 2019/01/29

Chronology of wind farm construction in Australia

In the table below wind farms completed in the same year are placed in alphabetical order. The exact date of completion is somewhat arbitrary. Cumulative figures are rounded to the nearest MW.

I have started this chronology with Salmon Beach Wind Farm because that was, I believe, the first significant attempt to provide a substantial contribution to powering a community with wind power; Salmon Beach is not included in the cumulative figures because it has been dismantled.

Starfish Hill Wind Farm was built in 2003 with 23 turbines each of 1.5MW; In 2010 one turbine was destroyed by fire and was dismantled. In 2014 a turbine at Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm was taken out of service due to a failure of the main shaft. Both of these factors have been taken into account in the table below.

NameStateYear of completionMWTotal for year Cumulative MW
Salmon Beach (Esperance) Western Australia19870.360.36 0
Breamea (Geelong) Victoria19870.060.06 0
Coober Pedy South Australia19910.150.15 0
Ten Mile Lagoon (Esperance)Western Australia19932.0 2.02
KooragangNSW 19970.6  
Thursday Island Queensland19970.51.1 3
CrookwellNSW 19984.84.88
BlayneyNSW 20009.9  
Windy Hill Queensland200012.021.9 30
Albany Western Australia200121.6   
Codrington Victoria200118.2   
Hampton ParkNSW 20011.341.171
TooraVictoria 200221.021.092
Challicum Hills Victoria200352.5   
Nine Mile Beach (Esperance)Western Australia2003 3.6  
Starfish Hill South Australia200334.590.6 183
NameStateYear of completionMWTotal for year Cumulative MW
Bremer Bay Western Australia20050.6   
Canunda South Australia200546.0   
Cocos (Keeling) IslandWestern Australia2005 0.8  
Lake Bonney Stage 1South Australia200580.5   
Mount Millar South Australia200570.0   
Wattle Point South Australia200590.8   
Wonthaggi Victoria200512.0300.7 483
Coral Bay Western Australia20060.8   
Emu Downs Western Australia200679.2   
Hopetoun Western Australia20061.2   
Rottnest Western Australia20060.6   
Walkaway Western Australia200689.1170.9 654
Cathedral Rocks South Australia200766.0   
Denham Western Australia20071.0   
Woolnorth Tasmania2007139.8206.7 861
Brown Hill Range (Hallett)South Australia2008 94.5  
NameStateYear of completionMWTotal for year Cumulative MW
Kalbarri Western Australia20081.6   
Lake Bonney Stage 2South Australia2008159.0   
Snowtown South Australia2008100.8355.9 1217
Bungendore NSW2009140.7   
Clements Gap South Australia200956.7   
Cullerin Range NSW200930   
Hallett Hill (Hallett)South Australia200971.4   
Lake Bonney Stage 3South Australia200939.0   
Portland Victoria2009132.0   
Waubra Victoria2009192.0661.8 1879
Waterloo South Australia2010111.0111.0 1988
Bluff Range (Hallett)South Australia201152.5   
Collgar Western Australia2011206.5   
Gunning NSW201146.5   
Hepburn Community Victoria20114.1   
NameStateYear of completionMWTotal for year Cumulative MW
Mount Barker Western Australia20112.4   
North Brown Hill (Hallett)South Australia2011132.3   
Woodlawn NSW201142.0486.3 2475
Grasmere Western Australia201213.8   
Mortons Lane Victoria201219.5   
Oaklands Hill Victoria201263.096.3 2571
Denmark Western Australia20131.6   
Macarthur Victoria2013420   
Mumbida Western Australia201355.0   
Musselroe Tasmania2013168.0644.6 3216
Boco Rock NSW2014113.0   
Gullen Range NSW2014165.5   
Mount Mercer Victoria2014131.0   
Snowtown 2 South Australia2014270.0680 3893
NameStateYear of completionMWTotal for year Cumulative MW
Bald Hills Victoria2015106.6   
Cape Nelson North Victoria201522.6   
Cape Sir William Grant Victoria201524.6   
Chepstowe Victoria20156.2   
Taralga NSW2015107.0267 4160
Coonooer Bridge Vic201619.8   
Hornsdale Stage 1 SA2016102.0  4285
Waterloo Stage 2 SA201618.0140 4300
Ararat Victoria2017240.0   
Coober Pedy SA20174.0   
Hornsdale Stage 2 SA2017102.0   
Hornsdale Stage 3 SA2017112.0454 4758
Kiata Vic201831.5   
White RockNSW2018175.0   
Yaloak Vic201828.7   
Salt Creek Vic201854.0   
Kennedy Queensland201843.0   
Sapphire NSW2018270.0602 5361


The steps involved in building a wind farm

The following is copied from an information sheet published by Origin Energy; it might be interesting to anyone who has been informed that there is a proposed wind farm nearby. This document goes some way toward explaining why there have been about five wind farms proposed for every one built in Australia (as of early 2012). I will quote the sheet verbatim...

Wind Farms
Guide to steps and timelines

Developing a wind farm is a careful and lengthy process. Most wind farms take considerable time – around five years or even longer – to proceed from concept through to approval, construction and operation. The following table indicates the steps which are followed, and a typical wind farm timeline.

A decision to proceed (or not) is taken after each step; all times are indicative only.

Step 1:
(Year 1)
Initial research
Desktop research identifies windy areas with potentially suitable access, environment and topography, and possible connection to the electricity grid.
Decision point... seek landholder participation for studies
Step 2:
Year 1-2
Landholder contact, data collection and constraint mapping
Short-term agreements are sought with landholders to allow exclusive access to properties for wind measurement (including wind monitoring towers), initial environmental and constraint studies and other work, including exploring options to connect to the electricity grid. Landholder agreements may include long-term arrangements to be activated should the project reach step 7 (construction).
Decision point... refine area and proceed to more detailed studies
Step 3:
Year 2-3
Refine project area, conduct detailed studies and develop layout
The project area is refined and more detailed environmental, landscape, noise and other assessment studies are conducted. These inform the development of draft management and construction plans and, with landholder and community input, help pinpoint potential locations for turbines, access tracks, any required substations, connection lines, and other project layout details.
Decision point... proceed to development application
Step 4:
(Year 3)
Development Application process
Detailed development application documents are produced for consideration by the community and the appropriate planning authorities (local, state, federal) in the statutory development assessment process. The development assessment process provides everyone with the opportunity to make formal submissions regarding the final proposal, prior to it being assessed. This assessment process may see the proposal approved without conditions, approved with conditions, or refused.
Decision point... outcome of development application process considered
Step 5:
(Year 3-4)
Tenders and final agreement for grid connection
If development approval is given and any conditions accepted, agreement is reached with the electricity network for future grid connection and tenders are sought for equipment and the construction process.
Step 6:
(Year 4)
Financial Investment Decision
Following approvals and tenders, the Origin Board of Directors then considers whether to commit expenditure for the construction and operation of the wind farm (this decision will normally involve hundreds of millions of dollars). The decision may be to proceed or to wait, pending various business or economic issues.
Decision point... financial decision to construct or not
Step 7:
(Year 4-5)
If the financial decision is to proceed, orders are placed for turbines and other equipment, and a construction company engaged to build the wind farm. Long-term lease agreements with landholders are activated during this stage and a Community Fund established.
Step 8:
(Year 5)
The wind farm begins generating electricity for the national grid.

Edited 2019/01/04

The future of wind power in Australia

Wind turbine at Starfish Hill, Fleurieu Peninsula
Wind turbine at Starfish Hill, Fleurieu Peninsula
Climate change is happening and must be minimised; Australia and the world must move away from fossil fuels. No reasonable and informed person can doubt this any more. In 2018 the Turnbull Government was doing too little too leisurely. Australian governments could do much more and there are many possible actions that would have very little cost to taxpayers.

Up to about 2018 wind was the leading economically competitive form of sustainable energy, but by about that time solar photovoltaic costs had fallen to the point where they were roughly on a par with wind. And solar thermal was showing promise, especially as it comes with much needed energy storage. (Australia's wind power potential is dealt with on another page on this site.)

Using biological waste and methane from land-fill to generate electricity is feasible and is being done, but its capacity is limited. 'Hot dry rock' geothermal seems to have too many technical difficulties to be a serious contender in the foreseeable future. Wave-power, harnessing algae to produce fuels, and other alternatives seem further away. A decade or two could change that picture.

Limits to growth of the wind industry

In early 2019 the limits to the growth of the wind industry in Australia were:
  1. The lack of electricity transmission lines where they are needed (Governments seem willing to build transmission lines to new mines, but unwilling to build them for the large-scale development of wind farms);
  2. A continuing support for the coal industry at the expense of renewables in federal Coalition governments (but also, to a lesser extent, in the federal Labor Party).
  3. A growing level of opposition to the building of wind farms, which is generally based on an unwillingness of people to have wind farms near them. (I have written elsewhere comparing the generally selfish and dishonest opposition to wind power to the well justified opposition to coal.)
  4. A lack of determination in a sufficient proportion of the Australian people to reduce greenhouse emission in spite of the ever increasing evidence of the devastating consequences of unmitigated climate change.
Certainly wind power is not 'the answer' to climate change. Only a naïve person would believe that there is a single answer, and only a naïve or dishonest person would object to wind power because it is not 'the answer'. It is a part of 'the answer'. Other parts are energy conservation, technological innovation, development of other forms of sustainable energy, and education. (I have listed some suggestions in What should be done.)

So, what is the future of wind power in Australia?


Off-shore wind power installations

This is also an option. Turbines can either be set in the seabed in shallow water or they can float and be tethered to the seabed in deep water. Off-shore developments could at least double Australia's wind power potential. The greatest Australian potential for off-shore wind power is near Tasmania, but all the southern coast of Australia could be used. Unfortunately both the capital cost and operational and management costs of off-shore wind power is about twice that of on-shore. The former is due to the considerable costs of foundations, submarine transmission cables and installation facilities, while the latter reflects the remote and harsh sea environment in which they operate. (Also see Australia's wind power potential.)
(In 2018/08/20 I wrote a page dedicated to how I imagined Australia's energy future would develop.)

If the logic in the few sentences above is correct, then wind power must be developed to the maximum reasonable degree and as quickly as possible.

In Australia's wind power potential I argue that the potential installed wind power in Australia is more than 91 GW, and the amount of generation then would be more than 241 TWh p.a. (Total electrical generation in Australia in 2010 was around 300 TWh.)

Some of us will get sick of the site of wind turbines; some already are. (I love the things; they are elegant, graceful, and do no harm to most views. Of course there are some places where I would not want to see them built.) The alternatives to building wind turbines are to either throw caution and sanity to the wind and continue with fossil fuels, or to totally change our life-styles and enormously cut down on the amount of energy that we use, in our personal lives and in industry. We may well do the former, I cannot imagine our society being ready or willing to do the latter.

Updated 2019/01/29
Wind turbines at Starfish Hill, SA.
Wind turbines at Starfish Hill, Cape Jervis, South Australia

Installed wind power capacity in Australia

The figures in the table below were taken from my own records.

South Australia was the leading wind power state since construction of Canunda and Lake Bonney Stage 1 wind farms in March 2005, and from late 2005 (following completion of Wattle Point, Cathedral Rocks and Mount Millar) to 2011 hosted about half of Australia's wind power. By the end of 2016 SA's share had fallen to 37% and Victoria's share had risen to 29%.

By 2018 wind power construction had become less attractive in SA because wind farms were fairly frequently having their output 'curtailed' because there was too much power going into the grid. Wind farms were by then being built particularly in Victoria and NSW at a great rate and even in Queensland.

At the beginning of 2019 the Mid-North SA region hosted two thirds of SA's wind power and near a quarter of Australia's wind power in the Clements Gap, Hallet group, Hornsdale, Snowtown and Waterloo wind farms; a total of 1222 MW installed.

It is worth noting that for every wind farm that had been built (about 45 in mid 2011), another four or five (over 200) had been proposed. Would most of these proposed wind farms have been built if conditions were more favourable to sustainable energy development?

Note that installed capacities are a very long way from what they could be. The shortfall is mainly due to lack of government support for renewable energy, particularly the federal Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments that have been blatantly supporting the dying coal industry, but several Liberal state governments have also opposed wind power development, and no Australian government, state or federal, has supported the building of the transmission lines that will be needed to maximise wind power potential.

These pages deal with industrial-scale wind turbines only. Dept. Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts data (2009/02/20) recorded about 50 Australian 'wind farms' of less than 160 kW each, totalling 1.48 MW installed capacity; I have not included them in these pages.

The table is adjusted for the fact that Starfish Hill Wind Farm was built in 2003 with 23 turbines with one of these being lost to fire in 2010. So far as I know, this is the only case of the loss of a wind turbine to fire from any completed wind farm in Australia. The table is also adjusted for the loss of one turbine at Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm due to the failure of the main shaft. It seems very likely that one or more other turbines have been lost elsewhere and I have not heard of them.

All the figures given in the table below are what the wind farms can produce in ideal wind conditions and are known as 'installed capacities'. Actual generation is less, and the difference is defined as the capacity factor.

Total installed wind power
All figures are megawatts (MW); totals are for the end of each year. There may be rounding errors in some figures.
State/Year2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
NSW17 17 17 17 17 17 187 187 187 276 276 276 554 661 661 661 1106
NT0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Qld.12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 56
SA0 35 35 322 322 388 742 909 1019 1204 1204 1204 1472 1472 1592 1810 1810
Tas.0 0 0 0 0 140 140 140 140 140 140 308 308 308 308 308 308
Vic.39 92 92 104 104 104 104 428 428 432 514 934 1066 1225 1245 1485 1599
WA24 27 27 29 200 201 202 202 202 411 425 481 481 481 481 481 481
92 183 183 483 654 861 1217 1879 1988 2474 2571 3216 3893 4160 4300 4758 5361
Year 21 91 0 301 171 207 356 662 110 486 96 645 678 267 140 458 602

Assuming a capacity factor of 34%, about the average for Australian wind farms, 5361 MW of wind turbines will generate about 16,000 GWh per year.

It is worth mentioning that, according to my records, there was 3,530 MW of wind power under construction in Australia at the end of 2018.

Installed wind power capacity – The world and Australia
Wind power in world & Oz
World – top curve
Australia – lower curve
The figures for installed wind power after 2006 on the table above, are from my own calculation and estimation.

The daily minimum electrical consumption rate in SA at 2008 was around 1000 MW. SA wind farm generation is sometimes greater than consumption and the excess is exported to other states. Exporting substantially more power would require the construction of more interstate power transmission lines (interconnectors).

World wind power

The graph on the right shows the figures for installed wind power in the world (top pink line – from Global Wind Energy Council) and in Australia (lower blue line). Growth in world installed capacity since 1996 has declined from around 29% per year to around 20% per year.

Annual growth in Australian installed capacity was around 87% from 1996 to 2005, slowed to about 25% from 2005 to 2013, and to 10% from 2013 to 2016 (with the election of the Abbott government).

China alone installed 30.8 GW of wind power in 2015; more than seven times the total wind power in Australia at the time.

Installed wind power in Australia, by wind farm and as of January 2019

Wind farmStateMW
Albany groupWA35.4
Bremer BayWA0.6
Cathedral RocksSA66.0
Challicum HillsVic.52.5
Clements GapSA56.7
Coonooer BridgeVic.19.8
Coral BayWA0.83
Cullerin RangeNSW30.0
Wind farmStateMW
Emu DownsWA79.2
Esperance groupWA5.6
Hallett groupSA350.7
Hampton ParkNSW1.3
Hepburn CommunityVic.4.1
Lake Bonney groupSA278.5
Morton's LaneVic.19.5
Mount BarkerWA2.4
Mount MillarSA70.0
Wind farmStateMW
Oaklands HillVic.67.2
Portland groupVic.216.0
Salt CreekVic54.0
Snowtown groupSA370.8
Starfish HillSA34.5
Thursday IslandQld0.5
Wattle PointSA90.8
White RockNSW175.0
Windy HillQld12.0
Woolnorth groupTas.139.8
Yaloak SouthVic.28.7
These wind farms are parts of larger units
(the groups on the left three tables).
Wind farmStateMWPart of
Albany (1)WA21.6Albany
Bluff Point Stage 1Tas.10.5Woolnorth
Bluff Point Stage 2Tas.54.3Woolnorth
Bluff RangeSA52.5Hallett (#5)
Brown Hill RangeSA94.5Hallett (#1)
Cape BridgewaterVic.58.0Portland
Cape Nelson N.Vic.22.6Portland
Cape Nelson S.Vic.44.0Portland
C. Sir W. GrantVic.24.6Portland
Hallett HillSA71.4Hallett (#2)
Hornsdale Stage 1SA102.0Hornsdale
Hornsdale Stage 2SA102.0Hornsdale
Hornsdale Stage 3SA112.0Hornsdale
Lake Bonney Stage 1SA80.5Lake Bonney
Lake Bonney Stage 2SA159.0Lake Bonney
Lake Bonney Stage 3SA39.0Lake Bonney
Nine Mile BeachWA3.6Esperance
North Brown HillSA132.3Hallett (#4)
Snowtown 1SA100.8Snowtown
Snowtown 2SA270.0Snowtown
Studland BayTas.75.0Woolnorth
Ten Mile LagoonWA2.0Esperance

Updated 2019/06/21

Wind farms under construction

The numbers below are calculated from the records on these pages.

Late 2017 was the first time ever that there was at least one wind farm under construction in every Australian state.

Wind farms under construction
There may be rounding errors

The wind farms that were under construction include:
NSW Bodangora 113Early 2017?Sec. half 2018Infigen
Crookwell 2 91April 2017?Late 2018?Union Fenosa
Crudine Ridge 134May 2018Sept. 2019CWP Renewables
Silverton 200May 2017late 2018?AGL
Queensland Coopers Gap453Jan. 2018June 2019AGL
Mt Emerald181April? 2017November 2018Ratch
SA Lincoln Gap 212Jan. 2018UnknownNexif Energy
Willogoleche 119July? 2017Early 2019?ENGIE and GEA
Tas Cattle Hill 144April 2018Late 2019Goldwind
Granville Harbour 112Jan. 2018Late 2019Hydro Tas./Palisade?
Victoria Berrybank 181June 2019Sept. 2019Union Fenosa
Bulgana 197Mid 2018UnknownNeoen
Crowlands 80March 2018Early 2019Pacific Hydro
Dundonnell 336Jan. 2019Late 2020Tilt Renewables
Moorabool 150July 2018Late 2019Goldwind
Mortlake South 158March 20192020Acciona
Mount Gellibrand 132April 2017August 2018Acciona
Murra Warra 226March 2018Mid 2019Renew. Energy Systems
Stockyard Hill 507June 2018Late 2019Goldwind
Timboon West 7March 20182019?BayWa r.e.
Yawong 7March 20182019?BayWa r.e.
WABadgingarra 133Nov. 2017Early 2019APA


Updated 2018/04/04

Major wind farms in Australia

Biggest wind farms operating in Australia in December 2016
Biggest wind farms in Oz
The biggest operational wind farms in Australia in April 2018 were Macarthur (Vic), Snowtown, the Hallett group and Lake Bonney (all SA), but two bigger ones were under construction: Coopers Gap, at 453 MW (Qld), and Stockyard Hill, at 530 MW (Vic).

The Macarthur Wind Farm (420 MW) in Victoria is the biggest in Australia.

The Hallett wind farms of SA could easily be called a single wind farm; all are within a fairly small area and all feed power into a single substation. Brown Hill Range (Hallett #1, 95 MW), Hallett Hill (Hallett #2, 69.3 MW), North Brown Hill (Hallett #4, 132.3 MW) and Bluff Range Wind Farm (Hallett #5, 52.5 MW) are all operating (total 351 MW, graph at right). Willogoleche Wind Farm, 119 MW, at Hallett was under construction in April 2018; when complete it will increase the installed capacity of the Hallett group to 469 MW.

With the completion of Snowtown stage 2 the combined installed capacity of the Snowtown wind farms became 371 MW, making it the biggest in SA at least until Willogoleche, at Hallett is built.

Also see the section of this page Power generation of wind farms and the graph Power generation of wind farms.

Updated 2018/04/04

Major wind farms in Australia: greater than 100 MW

Wind farms greater than 100 MW
In alphabetical order
NameCapacity (MW)StatusStateLocation
Ararat240 OperatingVictoriaArarat
Bald Hills107 OperatingVictoriaNear Wilson's Promontory
Bungendore/Capital 141OperatingNew South WalesGoulburn area
Cattle Hill144Under constructionTasmaniaCentral highlands
Collgar 206OperatingWestern AustraliaSouth of Merredin
Coopers Gap453Under constructionQueenslandDalby-Kingaroy
Gullen Range 166OperatingNew South WalesGoulburn area
Hallett wind farms 351
Under construction
South AustraliaMid-North
Hornsdale 315OperatingSouth AustraliaJamestown area
Lake Bonney 279OperatingSouth AustraliaSouth-East
NameCapacity (MW)StatusStateLocation
Macarthur420 OperatingVictoriaHamilton area
Mount Mercer131OperatingVictoriaSouth of Ballarat
Musselroe 168OperatingTasmaniaNorth-east corner
Portland wind energy project216OperatingVictoria Portland area
Snowtown, two stages 371OperatingSouth AustraliaMid-North
Stockyard Hill530Under constructionVictoriaBallarat
Taralga 107OperatingNew South WalesGoulburn area
Waterloo 129OperatingSouth AustraliaMid-North
Waubra192 OperatingVictoriaBallarat area
Woolnorth140 OperatingTasmaniaNorth-west corner

Altered 2017/01/21

Power generation of wind farms


Australian generation data – live

Live generation data by state and generator class is available from NemWatch.

Wind farm generation data

Generation data from all of the Australian wind farms connected to the two (WA and eastern Australian) power grids should be freely available in useful formats (eg. daily, weekly, monthly, annually) to the general public. They are not.

Limited generation data from WA

Wind generation data from WA's wind farms is not made public except in a limited way from the WA Independent Market Operator. I would think that the Western Australian public has a right to know, in much more detail, how much power wind farms generate, after all, they are paying for the wind farms with their power bills.
The lack of readily available generation data from wind farms allows opponents of wind power to falsely claim that wind farms actually generate very little electricity.

This situation changed to a limited extent when the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) made data available from all of the larger Eastern Australian wind farms. Unfortunately, the data are provided in a format that is quite useless to the general public.

It changed again, to a limited extent, with the widget on the right, from NemWatch, kindly being made available free of charge. (The widget was added to this page on 2015/08/02.)

The figures for capacity factors of wind farms, below, were calculated from AEMO data downloaded via the Wind Farm Performance Net site. Andrew Miskelly, who, it seems, runs that site at his own expense and in his own time, recomputes the data from the AEMO and converts it into more useful daily generation graphs. Andrew used to also provide a facility for downloading monthly generation totals for all the larger Australian wind farms; but for some reason stopped this.

Graphs of average power generation, on a month-by-month basis, (up to the time Andrew stopped his service) for each of the wind farms in the table below are given on the state wind farm pages of Wind in the Bush. This can be reached via the menu at the top of this page or the Wind farm index.

The capacity factors and average power outputs were calculated for data recorded in the given periods (inclusive of the starting and ending months). Internationally, I believe, a capacity factor of anything above 30% is considered very good for an on-shore wind farm.

As a resident of Mid-North SA I am pleased to see that Hallett and Snowtown wind farms have the highest capacity factors of the big farms and that the Hallett group is now generating almost twice as much electricity as any other wind farm in Australia (and probably the Southern Hemisphere). Waubra and Woolnorth are the only big wind farms not in Mid-North SA to come close to the capacity factors of Hallett and Snowtown.

Capacity factor

The capacity factor of any power station is a measure of how much electricity it actually produces compared to its potential, if it was running at full load 100% of the time.

Data that potentially enable the calculation of the capacity factor of many of eastern Australia's wind farms are available from the AEMO. Unfortunatly the AEMO do not provide this data in a form that can be readily used. For a few years Andrew Miskelly provided downloadable monthly wind farm generation data in 'csv' form (suitable for spreadsheets) from which capacity factors could be calculated. More recently Mr Miskelly has provided daily wind farm output in a graphical format.

While Mr Miskely provided usable data I calculated capacity factors and tabled and graphed the figures elsewhere on this and other pages.

I don't know of anywhere that wind farm generation figures are available for Western Australia (and I'd be please if anyone could tell me if they are available somewhere).

Actual capacity factors achieved in eastern Australian wind farms vary from 23% up to 42% and average about 35% (based on data from the AEMO via the ALG Net site as of March 2011).

Capacity factors for South Australia's fossil fuel power stations; for comparison
Cap. factors graph
Graph from 2013 South Australian Electricity Report by the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Note that the capacity factor of coal-fired Playford B power station has declined to zero (it has been 'put into mothballs'). Also note the decline in the capacity factor of the coal-fired Northern Power Station, the second biggest power station and the only remaining coal-fired one in SA; which is expected to only be used for the warmer half of each year before being shut down all together. This has been possible due to SA's wind farms.


Wind farm power generation in Australia

Capacity factors and power generated are graphed below. Graphs for individual farms are provided on the states pages.
All generation data start from the beginning of the month shown and are up to the end of 2012.

Power generated
Ave. MW
Data starting
BungendoreNSW14126%36.3 July 2009Suzlon 2.1 MW
CanundaSA4630%13.7 May 2008Vestas 2.0 MW
Cathedral RocksSA6631%20.5 March 2009Vestas 2.0 MW
Challicum HillsVic.5329%15.2 March 2009Neg Micon 1.5 MW
Clements GapSA5735%19.6 July 2009Suzlon 2.1 MW
Cullerin Range NSW3040%11.9May 2009 Repower 2.0 MW
Hallett #1SA9540%37.8 July 2009Suzlon 2.1 MW
Hallett #2SA7141%28.8 August 2009Suzlon 2.1 MW
Hallett #4SA13239%52.1 January 2011Suzlon 2.1 MW
Hallett #5SA5335%18.2 September 2011Suzlon 2.1 MW
GunningNSW4739%18.2 June 2011Acciona 1.5 MW
Lake Bonney Stage 1SA8126%20.8 March 2009Vestas 1.75 MW
Lake Bonney Stage 2SA15925%39.9 August 2009Vestas 3.0 MW
Lake Bonney Stage 3SA3926%10.2 August 2010Vestas 3.0 MW
MacarthurVic.420?? Early 2013Vestas 3.0 MW
Power generated
Ave. MW
Data starting
Mt MillarSA7030%20.8 January 2009Enercon 2.0 MW
Portland Wind Energy ProjectVic.10237% 37.2July 2009Neg Micon and Repower
Snowtown Stage 1SA10141%41.2 July 2009Suzlon 2.1 MW
Snowtown Stage 2SA270?? July 2014Siemens 3.0 MW
Starfish HillSA3527%9.4 May 2008Neg Micon 1.5 MW
WaterlooSA11132%35.5 October 2010Vestas 3.0 MW
Wattle PointSA9133%30.2 May 2008Vestas 1.65 MW
WaubraVic.19237%71.9 August 2009Acciona Windpower 1.5 MW
WoodlawnNSW4833%15.8 July 2011Suzlon 2.1 MW
WoolnorthTas.14039%53.9 March 2009Vestas 1.75 MW and 3 MW
YambukVic.3031%9.3 January 2009Neg Micon
– Total HallettSA351  136.8 Including Hallett #1, #2, #4 and #5
– Total Lake BonneySA279  70.9Including Stages 1, 2 and 3
– Total SnowtownSA370  ? Including Stages 1 and 2
Average 33.33% 
Weighted average 34.54% This is a very good figure by world standards.
To fully understand the table above requires an understanding of power and energy and the difference between them; an explanation is in the glossary.

Notes on the table:

  • AEMO's figures for the Portland Wind Project seem to include Cape Bridgewater and Cape Nelson South, but not Yambuk Wind Farm.
  • Neither the WA wind farms nor several of the smaller Victorian and NSW wind farms (eg. Blayney, Codrington, Crookwell, Toora and Wonthaggi) are included in the AEMO's listing.
  • Hallett surpassed Waubra as the most productive wind farm in Australia sometime in the third quarter of 2010 – as Hallett #4 started coming on-line. Once Snowtown Stage 2 was completed in July 2014 the combined Snowtown 1 and 2 became the most productive in Australia.
  • I believe Neg Micon has been incorporated into Vestas.

Compare these figure with the installed capacities of major wind farms in Australia.


Wind farm capacity factors in Australia
(Those farms listed by the AEMO)

From data starting at various dates and ending December 2012
Wind farm generation
The data for this graph are the same as those used in the table above.
Capacity factors are explained elsewhere. A related concept is wind turbine efficiency.

Wind farm power generation in Australia
(Those farms listed by the AEMO)

From data starting at various dates and ending December 2012
Wind farm generation
The data for this graph are the same as those used in the table above, except that only the totals for Hallett and Lake Bonney are included here.

Altered 2017/01/05

Change in rate of generation with time and the age of the wind farm

Does the average generation (or capacity factor) of a wind farm increase or decrease as it ages?


Comment by Karina Lindvig of the European Wind Energy Association

"The Danish Wind Turbines Owners Association did an analysis which shows that there is no decrease in production over time. The production fluctuates over the years – obviously as there will be more wind in some years than in others. However, when you correct in relation to the given wind year the production is stable."

The EWEA's public response can be read here.

A highly dubious document written by Gordon Hughs and published by the Renewable Energy Foundation claimed to show that the load factor (effectively the same as the capacity factor) of wind farms in the UK and Denmark decline greatly with the age of the wind farms (up to 15 years). For example Hughs claimed that the load factor of UK onshore wind farms declined from 24% at age 1 year to 15% at age 10 and 11% at age 15.

What is the story for Australia?

Based on 3240 turbine-years of data from the wind farms having at least two years of operation in the Australian eastern states grid it can be said that there is a variety of figures, with some slight decreases and more slight, or substantial, increases in output. (The data were obtained from the Australian Energy Market Operator.) The average change in generation was an increase of about 0.58MW for each year of operation of each wind farm.

Of 21 wind farms, seven showed a slight decline in generation with time and the remaining 14 showed a slight or substantial increase. Those that showed the greatest increases were Lake Bonney Stage 2, 4.0MW each year; Waterloo, 3.9MW each year; and Waubra, 2.3MW each year.

Australia's wind farms run at a weighted average capacity factor of about 35%; it is doubtful that the capacity/load factor of UK wind farms was ever as low even as the 24% claimed by Hughs; 15% and 11% are beyond belief.

I can only speculate that the likely causes of the general increase is an increase in the expertise of the operators and fine tuning of the turbines with time.

It seems quite increadible that the wind farms in Australia could be performing so well with time while European wind farms performed as poorly as claimed by Hughs. I suggest that Hughs' document is no more than another of the lies attempting to discredit wind power and probably funded by the fossil fuel industry.

Updated 2011/07/15

How does Australia compare to the rest of the world?

Leading countries in wind power in 2010 National statistics
CountryMWRankMW per
RankWatts per
Land area,
China44 7331 4 4367 3424 13309 573 000
USA40 2002 2 74916 1308 3109 159 000
Germany27 2143 9 2824 3334 82357 000
Spain20 6764 15 1533 4452 46499 000
India13 0655 3 26513 1135 11732 973 000
Italy5 7976 3 27312 9514 61301 000
France5 6607 2 63717 8718 65544 000
UK5 2048 2 38619 8319 62244 000
Canada4 0099 3 01415 11911 349 971 000
Portugal3 89810 15 8552 3453 1192 000
Denmark3 75211 18 4681 6801 643 000
Japan2 30412 53534 1833 127378 000
Netherlands2 23713 3 30611 1337 1742 000
Sweden2 16314 6 1396 2386 9450 000
Australia1 89015 2 14221 9316 227 682 000
The above information came from cleantechnica.com
Note: Australia past 1890 MW early in 2010
Also see a graph showing installed wind power per capita within Australia.
By 2015 Australia had fallen to 16th, ahead of The Netherlands but falling behind Poland and Turkey.
According to Wikipedia, in 2010 China had 23 times as much wind power as Australia, by 2015 they had 35 times as much.

Australia has been slow to move into sustainable energy in general and wind power in particular.

Germany has one twenty-first the land area of Australia, yet has about 14 times as much wind power (and hugely more solar power). Spain has about twice the population of Australia, a fifteenth the land area, yet about 11 times as much wind power. Little Denmark, with a quarter our population and 0.6% of our land area has about twice our wind power (Denmark has a higher percentage of wind power than any other country). Even the USA, a nation whose federal administration has, until the recent past, been notoriously against doing anything about greenhouse/climate change, has about 21 times as much wind power as Australia.

Australia had about 2.5GW of installed wind power at the end of 2011; in just that year China installed 16 to 18GW; seven times the total in Australia.

It is interesting to look at wind power in terms of megawatts per billion dollars of gross domestic product (forth column and ranking in fifth column). In this Demark is ahead of Australia by a factor of eight, Portugal ahead by a factor of seven, and Australia comes 21st (fifth column) in the world. Every nation on the table other than Japan is ahead of Australia in MW/$b GDP. New Zealand (not on the table), with 4224 MW/$b GDP, ranks eighth in the world and even countries like Greece, Bulgaria, Costa Rica and India are ahead of Australia. China has twice the investment in wind power per dollar GDP that Australia has. It is interesting that China installed 8 GW of wind power in the first half of 2011 alone – almost four times the total installed wind power in Australia in just six months!

The sixth column shows Watts of installed wind power per capita in the listed countries, with the world ranking shown in the seventh column. In this too, Australia comes a poor 16th.

Australia has huge potential for developing wind power, but has been notably slow in doing so.

The proportion of electricity that can be generated by wind before problems relating to variability of supply become intolerable has been debated for years. The magazine Wind Power Monthly reported that Denmark generated 31.5% of its power by wind in January 2008 (apparently January is its windiest month) and had generated even more in January 2007 (35.5%). Even more important, the article stated that there had been no need to constrain production from the turbines at any time. (I believe that Denmark has the advantage of power-sharing with nearby Norway which has a large hydro-power resource.)

The southern hemisphere

I believe that Brazil has the greatest wind energy industry after Australia, reaching 1 GW installed capacity around July 2011. (Reported by Renewable Energy Magazine). Wikipedia stated that New Zealand had 615 MW installed capacity in June 2011.

Small wind disadvantaged against solar

The Australian Government offers substantial subsidies for the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on homes and small businesses anywhere in Australia. However, if you want to install a small wind generator and you are connected to the electrical grid you get nothing.

This produces an unfair discrimination against the small-scale wind industry. Why would you pay full price for a small wind turbine when you can get thousands of dollars from the government to install solar?

Wind turbines and sailing ships

Wattle Point WF
Wattle Point Wind Farm in the early morning
In April 2005 I visited the then new Wattle Point Wind Farm on the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia and was struck by the thought that, in some ways, wind turbines are to conventional power stations what sailing ships are to motor vessels. Motor vessels and sailing ships both have been used to move people and freight from one place to another, conventional power stations and wind turbines both generate electricity.

Both sailing ships and wind turbines are graceful and are works of art, while motor vessels and fossil fuel power stations are simply practical and are means-to-an-end.

Both sailing ships and wind turbines are sustainable; motor vessels and conventional power stations are not, because of the finite reserves of fossil fuels they burn and the damaging carbon dioxide and other pollutants they dump into the atmosphere.

To anyone who says that a wind turbine is not a work of art I would say go and stand in the middle of a modern wind farm and watch while the sun sets. If you go with an open mind you cannot help seeing their beauty and grace: quietly powering our energy-hungry life styles while doing very little harm to the environment. I don't mind admitting that they fascinate me.

Ironically, motor vessels replaced sailing ships, yet wind turbines are, to some extent, replacing fossil fuel fired power stations. With greenhouse and the approaching end of oil, will we one day see the return of sail?

Proposed solar/wind/wave powered cargo ship, Orcel – Credit Solar Navigator


No level playing field

Fossil fuelled electricity generation is currently cheaper than wind generated electricity, because the fossil fuel industry is subsidised and environmental pollution costs are not paid by the fossil fuel industry.

Economists and politicians often make statements such as "Non fossil fuel methods of power generation cannot yet compete financially on a level playing field with fossil fuel fired power stations".

There is no level playing field! Fossil fuel power stations release their damaging carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere at no cost to their operators, while the cost to the planet will be huge. If the fossil fuelled power generators were forced to dispose of their emissions responsibly then the playing field would become level; and they would not be able to compete with some of the more advanced environmentally friendly alternatives. (Also see Fossil fuel electricity in perspective.)

The Australia Institute produced a report titled "The nature and extent of Federal Government subsidies to the mining industry" dated April 2012 and authored by Matt Grundoff. The report stated that the Federal Government alone provides $4 billion annually to the mining industry in subsidies and concessions; this does not include the cost of providing the mining industry with infrastructure, nor State Government susidies.

It is difficult to imagine any cheaper way of getting energy than by digging coal out of the ground, moving it a couple of kilometres, and burning it in a power station. It is as cheap as it is irresponsible, polluting, and unsustainable.

Geosequestration is one way that the fossil fuel industry is hoping to dispose of its carbon dioxide (the Government is subsidising research for them).

The graph on the right compares the costs of various forms of electricity, including the estimated cost of 'responsibly' generated coal-fired power (third from the left). No-one has yet proven this form of generation in practice.

The $64/MWh for coal-fired power with geosequestration on the graph is probably a minimum. Other researchers calculate between Aust$74 and $130; see the cost of geosequestration on my Greenhouse page.

Interestingly, a Queensland government site (http://www.energy.qld.gov.au/infosite/electricity_generation.html, no longer available), gave the cost of nuclear generated electricity as $190-$250/MWh.


The number of homes supplied by a given wind farm

It is almost a tradition for wind farm developers, when announcing a new wind farm, to state how many homes it could supply. I haven't used this on my pages, believing it to be vague and of little value. There is a huge variation in the amount of power used by various households, and since wind farms do not generate power continually they cannot supply all the power needed by a single house, let alone several thousand houses.

How many homes do various companies equate to one installed MW of wind farm?

CompanyNo. homes per MWWind farm
AGL570Brown Hill Range (Hallett)
Acciona740Waubra (Ballarat)
Epuron400Silverton (Broken Hill)
Repower700Ceres Project (Yorke Peninsula)
Pacific Hydro500Challicum Hills (Ararat)
Roaring 40s500Woolnorth (NW Tasmania)
WestWind571Lal Lal (Ballarat again)

Why the variation? Perhaps it is due to the perceived quality of the local wind resource, perhaps it depends on how much power households use in different regions, perhaps it is only due to variations in the estimations of company public relations people?

The numbers above vary from 400 to 740 homes per installed megawatt. If we assume a 35% capacity factor we can calculate that an installed megawatt will generate 350 kW on average. If 350 kW will supply 400 homes (at Broken Hill) then the assumption is 875 Watts per home; if it will supply 740 homes (at Ballarat) then the assumption is 470 Watts per home.

How big can wind turbines get?


Old multi-bladed water pumping windmills

I haven't done any checking, but a Net page, Wind Power, Wind Energy, Practical Windmills by C. Johnson states that you could expect to get about 60 Watts of useful power from a 3m diameter windmill in a moderate breeze.
The first wind farm in Australia was Salmon Beach, which was commissioned in March 1987 at Esperance. It consisted of six 60 kW turbines.

As of September 2010 the largest wind turbines in Australia were the 3 MW (3000 kW) units in use at Lake Bonney and Waterloo wind farms. These have steel towers about 80m high and fibre glass blades about 44m long.

Roaring 40s are considering 3.3 MW turbines for their proposed Stony Gap and Robertstown wind farms.

The technical challenges of lifting loads of nearly 100 tonnes (the Nacelle, including gearbox, dynamo, cooling system, etc.) to heights of around 80m are considerable.

In some European off-shore wind farms, turbines of 6 MW are now being used. They have blades of up to about 65m long (the wingspan of a Boeing 747-400 aircraft is 64.67m – that's the length from wingtip to wingtip). When assembling these turbines, instead of raising the whole of the nacelle and its contents in one lift, as has generally been done in Australian wind farms, I believe that the main components of the nacelle are raised in separate lifts.

One limit to the size of a wind turbine seems to be in the size and perhaps more importantly, the cost, of the crane needed and the difficulty of lifting very heavy loads to great heights.

Energy return on investment (EROI)

Energy Return On Investment for a number of energy sources
Image credit: Meta-analysis of net energy return for wind power systems (2010, Elsevier, Renewable Energy); Ida Kubiszewski, Cutler J. Cleveland, Peter K. Endres
EROI for power generation systems. Nuclear (2) omits the extreme outliers from the group of Nuclear (1), and thus represents a better assessment of what the EROI for nuclear is likely to be.
See the original paper for more information.
EROI is an important concept in the energy industry. It is defined as the ratio between the useful energy got out of a process against the energy needed for that process; in simple terms, energy out against energy in. As an example, petroleum in the past has typically had an EROI ratio of around 30:1, that is, thirty units of energy obtained from the oil or gas for each unit of energy consumed in finding, pumping and refining the oil or gas. (The EROI is often written as a simple number, ie. 30 rather than 30:1.)

Importantly the EROI for petroleum is declining as more wells have to be drilled, more pumping done, more high-tech processes used, to obtain the same amount of oil.

It has been suggested that if EROI for our most important energy sources gets down to 10:1 it will begin to have a heavy impact on the modern way of life.

Studies on EROI for many of the energy industries have been reported on The Oil Drum and in particular Dr. Cutler Cleveland and Ida Kubiszewski posted an article describing a meta-analysis on the EROI of wind power on The Oil Drum.

From Cleveland and Kubiszewski's data the following can be extracted;
Energy return on investment for wind power
CountryNumber of
values recorded
in each country
Average EROI
Overall average18

It should be noted that there is a huge range of EROI values, indicating that the industry is not mature. As the industry matures businesses will learn to develop wind power in areas and using methods that maximise the EROI value.

Cleveland and Kubiszewski calculated an overall average EROI of 18.1, placing "wind energy in a favourable position relative to conventional power generation".

Unfortunately, Cleveland and Kubiszewski's data did not include any information on Australian wind farms. ESIPC (SA Electricity Supply Industry Planning Council) does not record EROI figures for South Australian wind farms.

Kurt Cobb posted on EROI in the Energy Bulletin. Some of his figures for energy sources other than wind are in the table below (I added wind):
Energy return on investment
Energy sourceEROI or RangeComment
WindAround 18See above
Crude oilAround 20Conventional
Tar sands1 to 7Figures vary greatly
Coal80but falling
Nuclear2 to 11Figures vary greatly
Solar?Figures vary greatly
Hydro-electricvery high 

EROI x Scale for fossil and renewable energy sources

EROI against total energy
The figure on the right gives a different perspective on the EROI picture.

The original of the figure was posted on the Oil Drum. It relates primarily to US data.

The distance the balloons are from the bottom shows increasing energy return on energy invested. The distance from the left shows increasing power obtained from that source.

Click on the image for a larger, clearer, view.

Wind forecasting

If Australia is to reach PM Rudd's stated target of 20% renewable energy by 2020 then wind energy will become a large component of the electricity supply and the forecasting of wind velocities should be, and is being, improved.

Denmark successfully produces some 20% of its electricity by wind farms and plans to increase this to 40% in the future. The Danish Wind Energy Association has confirmed (pers. com.) the need for detailed wind forecasting if a large component of wind power is to be used. Denmark has the advantage of being part of a large European power grid. Australia, on the other hand, has the advantage of being much bigger than Denmark; a wind change on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula will take a long time to affect wind farms in Victoria or eastern NSW.

An effective and efficient wind forecasting system is obviously important for the further development of wind power in Australia.

Edited 2018/04/24

Community funding by wind farmers

Up to date tables (as of April 2018) for each state can be found on pages 29 and 30 of the Building Stronger Communities report by the Australian Wind Alliance.

That report showed that by far the most generous wind farms where those that were community owned (not surprisingly). The most generous wind farms provided a hundred times as much in relation to installed capacity than the least generous.

An example of the extremes is given by the two wind farms under construction in Queensland. The owners of Mount Emerald Wind Farm have promised $1,110/MW ($200,000 for the whole wind farm), while the owners of Coopers Gap Wind Farm have only promised $70/MW ($30,000 for the whole wind farm, which is to be two and a half times the size of Mt Emerald).

I have written a page on the community funding provided by those wind farms listed in the AWA report with the aim of giving credit to those that are generous and shaming those that are miserly.

The material below was written around 2014 and is at least partly now (2018) out of date

Many Australian wind farm operators donate money for the use of the community around their wind farms. The amount distributed varies greatly, with Hepburn being by far the most generous of the wind farm operators and Energy Infrastructure Trust (operator of Wattle Point Wind Farm and a wholly owned subsidiary of ANZ) donating very little (based on inquiries that I made in the Edithburg area).

In some cases the amount is based on the number of turbines, for example $1666 per turbine per year for Gullen Range in NSW, in other cases it is simply a figure for the whole wind farm, for example $50 000 per year for Clements Gap. At least some of the funds are linked to the CPI (and will not be eroded by inflation in future years).

Alphabetical listing of wind farms and the associated community funding
Wind farmTotal funding
Per turbine
Ararat (RES Australia)$75$1000
Capes Bridgewater/Nelson (Pac. Hydro)$90$1765
Canunda (International Power)$4$174
Challicum Hills (Pac. Hydro)$50$1429
Ceres Project (Proposed; RePower)$150$754
Clements Gap (Pac. Hydro)$50$1852
Codrington/Yambuk (Pac. Hydro)$50$1471
Collector (Proposed, Ratch)$200$3175
Crookwell 2 (Proposed, UFWA)$70$2500
Cullerin Range (Origin)$15$1000
Gullen Range (Epuron)$140$1666
Gunning (Acciona)$31$1000
Hallett group
Hallett #1; Brown Hill Range$15$333
Hallett #2; Hallett Hill$15$441
Hallett #4; Bluff Range$15$600
Hallett #5; North Brown Hill$15$238
Hepburn (Hepburn Wind, intended donation)$30 $15 000
Snowtown (both stages, Trust Power)$55 $398
Waterloo (Energy Australia)$20 $540
Waubra (Acciona) $64$500
Notes: For the purpose of community funding Pacific Hydro combines nearby Codrington and Yambuk as one unit, and Capes Bridgewater and Nelson as another.

I did chase community funding figures for these...
Wind farmInquired
Lake Bonney, Bungendore (Infigen)2010/09/20No reply
Cathedral Rocks (Roaring 40s)2010/09/21No reply
Starfish Hill, Toora, Windy Hill (Transfield)2010/09/21 No reply
Wattle Point (Energy Infrastructure Trust – ANZ) 2010/09/21No reply
Gunning (Acciona)2010/09/21No reply
It is probable that all of the above companies provide very little community funding.
Mount Millar (Meridian)Replied, see text.

More information on the funding relating to specific farms can be read on my pages on specific states. The community funding section is generally near the bottom of the information on specific wind farms.

The table on the left lists all those wind farms for which I've been able to find data on community funding. One would suppose that the others probably provide less community funding (otherwise the information would be easy to come by).

It seems that it is not uncommon from wind farm companies to provide no more than around $500 per turbine per year in community funding; yet they are paying farmers $7000 to $14 000 per turbine per year for hosting the turbines. Perhaps some more generosity would increase public acceptance of turbines? Or perhaps the companies should place more resources into getting some local ownership into their wind farms as a way of increasing support?

Individual landowners negotiate with wind farmers for acceptable lease arrangements; should communities have some right to negotiate for community contributions from the wind farmers? They do not have at present.

Note that Hepburn Wind (by far the most generous company in terms of the donation per turbine; see table on the left) is a community owned wind power company and has two turbines.

Verve Energy, WA

Verve own all the major WA wind farms. Craig Carter, Senior Electrical Engineer for Verve, gave me the following: "We don't publicise these [community funding] figures as each project is assessed on a project specific basis, with benefits to the community spread across a variety of areas including tourist infrastructure, funding towards local projects, local employment, etc." It is a pity that Verve do not publish their figures; are they not proud of them?


Meridian is a NZ-based company that owns the Mount Millar Wind Farm in SA. They provide community funding in relation to their NZ hydro and wind operations (Te Apiti, Waitaki, Manapouri Te Anau, White Hill, and West Wind), but apparently none for the community around Mount Millar. To get it "from the horse's mouth", go to Meridian, "About us" and "Community funding".


Transfield own several wind farms. If they do not provide any community funding, as seems likely, it is a great loss to the communities that host Transfield's wind farms.

Compulsory funding?

Terry Teoh of Pacific Hydro (one of the most generous companies) made the following comment on 2010/09/14.
"There has been discussion recently in Victoria and NSW by the bureaucrats to make the sustainable community fund compulsory. We are quite concerned about this. The wind industry came to this voluntarily as a way to establish our ethical compass. By making it compulsory, the bureaucrats would destroy the purpose and value of the fund. If Council is used as the fund administrator, it would become a Council budget line, with the State government then reducing their support to Council to compensate. So making the community fund would have the perverse effect of reducing overall funding into the community."
(I am cynical enough to believe that councils and state governments might use the voluntary payments from wind farmers as an excuse to reduce funding too!) Some companies are generous, others apparently give very little. Is this fair? Perhaps some level of compulsory funding would be better? Or perhaps making these figures more widely known will place pressure on those companies that are lagging to lift their game?

Edited 2017/01/03

Community investment in wind energy

Denmark and Germany have successfully developed community ownership of wind farms. A part of an article published in Wind Power Works about community-owned wind farms in Germany:
40% of local residents have invested in the Galmsbüll "Citizens' Wind Farm"

Also see Community wind farms.
Community investment has helped Germany to become the most successful nation for wind power in Europe. At Marienkoog in the North Friesland region, dozens of local people have taken a share in their local wind farm and watched the turbines being constructed for the benefit of the neighbourhood.

When the older wind turbines at Marienkoog were replaced by fewer more powerful models, the local community was offered a third of the shares in the 'repowering' project. Altogether, in the Galmsbüll Bürgerwindpark (Citizens' wind farm), of which Marienkoog is part, a total of 240 residents invested 5 million euros. This represented 40% of the district's adult population.

One result has been general acceptance of the new taller wind turbines in the landscape of this mainly farming region close to the North Sea coast. The local council also receives income from the business tax paid by the wind farm.

A lot more could be done to give Australians the chance to invest in wind farm construction, especially in nearby wind farms, in Australia. Some degree of local ownership could increase acceptance of the wind farms.

Danmark's Samso Island generates more sustainable energy than it consumes and is aiming to be fossil fuel free by 2030. 90% of the wind turbines on Samso are owned by the local people.

Updated 2013/11/09

Payments to land-owners

When wind farmers build a wind farm on privately owned land (most are on privately owned land) they have to come to an agreement with the land owner. A very few land owners don't want wind turbines at all, but most see the turbines as causing little harm to their farming and the payments from the wind farmers as very significant additions to their farm incomes.


Land lease payments in the USA

A report by the Congressional Research Service, titled "Wind Power in the United States: Technology, Economics, and Policy Issues", dated 2008/06/20 and written by Jeffrey Logan and Stan Mark Kaplan gave the following: "Farmers and ranchers typically receive from project developers $2,000-5,000 per year for each turbine on their land". (Many US wind turbines are smaller than those in Australia, because they were built earlier.)
There may be a once-off payment for access, and there usually is an annual payment per turbine. Some years ago I heard that a typical payment for one turbine was $4000 per year. More recently I had a confirmed figure of $7000 per turbine per year for one wind farm (the company didn't want it to be commonly known, most of these deals are confidential). I have recently (July 2009) heard, second hand, unconfirmed, that some wind farmers are paying $12 000 to $14 000 (for wind farm agreements around 2013 these figures would, I believe, be typical). Sometimes the payments are fixed as a proportion of the gross income from the sale of the electricity generated by the turbines.

Farmers should, for their own protection, make sure that the agreement that they sign does not leave them liable for decommissioning the turbines at the end of their useful life. Depending on how the decommissioning is done, it could be very expensive, especially if nearby native vegetation has to be protected in the decommissioning process.

Most wind farmers also donate money for community development projects.

Updated 2009/12/11

Wind power in territories

The 'states' pages cover wind farms within the Australian states. As of October 2009 there are no wind farms in the Northern Territory nor in the Australian Capital Territory. There is a wind farm in the Australian Antarctic Territory and on Cocos Island.

Australian Antarctic Territory Wind Farm

There are two 300 kW wind turbines at Mawson. The Australian Antarctic Division Net site I had is no longer valid. Quoting from the AAD Net page:
Two 300 kW wind turbines were installed at Mawson in 2003 and now make a significant contribution to the station's power requirements.

The Mawson wind turbine system ranks among the world's most innovative, and is capable of providing 600 kW of renewable power. Australia is the first country to obtain a significant electricity supply for its Antarctic stations fuelled by the most powerful winds on the planet.

Studies in the early 1990s revealed that the constant katabatic winds blowing from the inland of the continent make Mawson ideally situated to generate the bulk of its energy requirements with wind turbines.

The AAD worked closely with a German turbine manufacturer (Enercon) and an Australian company (Powercorp Pty Ltd) to install the turbines and the associated computerised powerhouse control system in early 2003.
Some statistics on the wind farm were on the AAD Mawson Net site, but this is no longer available.

I thank Lee Sice for alerting me to the AAD net page on the Mawson wind farm.

Cocos Island Wind Farm

There is a total of 800kw of wind power on Cocos (Keeling) Island.


Much of the information on these pages has been gleaned from the Internet. I have visited all the South Australian and Victorian wind farms (as of mid 2008); some of what is on these pages comes from those visits. Important other information has come from people who have been kind enough to respond to my inquiries, and several people have volunteered very welcome information.

These acknowledgements are arranged in alphabetical order. I am indebted to a number of others who have provided information but have requested that their names not be mentioned (a pity, because I like to ascribe information sources to allow readers to judge credibility). My apologies to any informants who have helped but I have missed acknowledging.

  • Ahern, Rodney – TrustPower
  • Barber, Greg – Greens MP in Victoria
  • Barnard, Mike – Mike writes on wind power; he has lived in Canada, Brazil and Singapore
  • Bethune, Dr Graeme – EnergyQuest
  • Blair Donaldson – Gippsland Friends of Future Generations
  • Bradshaw, Josh – Roaring 40s
  • Brennan, Frank – Wattle Range Council (SE SA)
  • Brooks, Roger – District Council of Yorke Peninsula
  • Burke, Dr Susie – Board Member, Climate and Health Alliance; and Senior Psychologist, Public Interest, Environment and Disaster Response, Aust. Psychological Soc. Nat. Office
  • Carter, Craig – Verve Energy
  • Chapman, Professor Simon – Expert Adviser, Climate and Health Alliance; and Professor, Public Health, University of Sydney
  • Clarke, David – Acciona
  • Clark, Nick –
  • Coombe, Steve – EHAMP Catchment Group
  • Courtrice, Ben – Friends of the Earth, Victoria; blogger
  • Crockett, Lane – General Manager, Pacific Hydro
  • Davey, Simon – Epuron
  • Delmarter, Clayton – TrustPower
  • Durran, Andrew – Epuron/Taurus Energy
  • Ecuyer, Danielle – Pamada (Kyoto Energy Park)
  • Edelman, Dr Sarah – Information on likely causes of symptoms commonly ascribed to 'wind turbine syndrome'
  • Endean, Dr Colin – Information on climate science
  • Engelmann, Mark – Information on the interactions between wind farms and weather
  • George, Miles – Infigen Energy, previously Babcock and Brown, Wind Partners
  • Gilmore, Joel – ROAM Consulting Pty Ltd
  • Gresham, Bill – Cartoonist and renewable power supporter
  • Grey, Tom – American Wind Energy Association
  • He, Tao Tao – Monadelphous Engineering Pty Ltd
  • Head, Michael – Waterloo Wind Farm
  • Henderson, Geoff
  • Holmes à Court, Simon – Hepburn Wind
  • Hudson, Mike – Photographs and information
  • Hull, Dr Cindy – Hydro Tasmania, environmental expert
  • Jack, Ken – Originally of Stanwell Corp, more recently of Transfield?
  • Jevremov, Dijana – Roaring 40s
  • Joshi, Ketan – Data analyst at Infigen Energy
  • Keane, Sandi – Has exposed shonky practices from several parties
  • Kempster, Peter – Flinders and King Islands, Tasmania
  • Knight, Steve – was with Vestas, now retired
  • Knill, Tim – AGL
  • Laurie, Dr Sarah – for her opinions on alleged harmful effects of wind turbine noise
  • Law, Julian – Macquarie Generation
  • Mackett, Adam – AGL
  • Mackie, Richard
  • Marcheson, Doreen – Wind Prospect
  • Miskelly, Andrew – Australian Landscape Guardians
  • Mitchell, Thomas – Legal Manager, Union Fenosa
  • Morgan, John P.
  • Mounter, David – Roaring 40s
  • Nun, Richard – private citizen
  • Olsen, Peter; – Wind Turbines by Peter Olsen
  • Osmond, David – Windlab
  • Parnell, Mark – Greens MP in South Australia
  • Perry, David
  • Reed, Peter – Suzlon
  • Ryan, Brendan – Suzlon
  • Scheidegger, Oliver
  • Sgardelis, Peter – Repower
  • Sice, Lee – Information on Mawson Base, Antarctica
  • Simpson, John – Feet 'N Frames
  • Sweatman, Chris – RES
  • Tana, Vincent – Sumich
  • Teoh, Terry – Pacific Hydro
  • Thompson, Daniel – Verve Energy
  • Trenerry, Jim – Investec and the Hawnsdale Wind Farm
  • Trompf, Jeffry – AGL
  • Valentine, Nick
  • Walker, Cam – Friends of the Earth, Victoria
  • Wallis, Kad – AGL
  • Whorral, David – Hatch
  • Wheatley, Megan – Suzlon
  • Wittert, Professor Gary – Mortlock Professor and Head, Discipline of Medicine, University of Adelaide.
  • Woodroffe, Andrew – Mount Barker Wind Farm

Photo credits

I have tried to use photos that have some artistic merit; there are a great many on the Internet that do not. Several photos have come from the Net, several others were offered to me by a friend, the others are mine.
  • Argyle County Council – Crookwell Wind Farm
  • Bassett, Dave – Blayney Wind Farm
  • Osprey Photography – Lightning striking wind turbine
  • Rockenbauer, Klaus – Wind turbine art
  • Roddom, Wayne – Windy Hill Wind Farm
  • Rose, Sara – Emu Downs Wind Farm
  • Ryan, Brendan – Brown Hill Range, Coral Bay and Emu Downs wind farms

Wind turbine art

Lights on rotating turbine
Photo by Klaus Rockenbauer. More of his photos are on Flickr.
Here is something that has, so far as I know, never been done in Australia; a wind turbine used as an art form; or you could say, as a canvas on which to mount a work of art.

Klaus Rockenbauer placed a copy of the photo on the right on Flickr. It is of an Enercon turbine in Munich, Germany. Klaus said:

"On the blades of this wind turbine were placed about 9000 LED's. They draw motives in the night sky every day for about 7 hours. This art-object should be a sign to the energy problem worldwide and also is the biggest Christmas-star of the world."

The Osram Net site had a page on the turbine:

"Right on time for the first Advent Sunday it is obvious to all: But still it moves! Siemens – together with multimedia artist Michael Pendry – has lighted up the world's biggest revolving Christmas star. The lighting installation can be seen throughout December [2009] at the northern gateway to Munich – beginning at dusk every evening."

The entire installation uses only as much electricity as a hair dryer or a water kettle, yet in good weather it can be seen for 30 kilometres.

A similar thing could be done in Australia. It could have the potential to make turbines more of an attraction than they are at present.

This section written 2011/01/18

Differences in turbines

This is not a subject that I have studied, but I can mention a few differences that I have noticed. As always, if I have made any errors I'd be pleased if someone can correct me.


Many older wind turbines have steel lattice towers, all industrial-scale wind turbines in Australia have tubular steel towers.


Some turbines rotate at variable rates, for example Vestas; others rotate at a constant rate, for example Acciona at Gunning Wind Farm. Some turbines within older US wind farms rotate in opposite directions, all turbines in any particular Australian wind farm rotate in the same direction.

Downwind, upwind

Some older turbines have the blades on the downwind side of the tower; this has been found to lead to more noise due to the blades passing through the turbulent air from the tower. All Australian industrial-scale wind turbines have the blades upwind from the tower so that they can rotate in 'clean' air.

Rotating blades or blade-tips

In most Australian turbines the blade can be rotated as a whole (twisted about its long axis) to make it interact with the wind at the optimal angle, or to stop the turbine for whatever purpose. Some turbines, such as the Neg Micon ones at Starfish Hill Wind Farm have blade tips that can be rotated independently of the bulk of the blade.

Gear-box or not

Most electrical generators have to rotate at a much higher speed than the rotation rate of a wind turbine, so most wind turbines have a gear-box to increase the rotation rate something like ninety-fold compared to the turbine rotor. The Enercon turbines at Mount Millar Wind Farm have annular generators that do not require fast rotation and therefore have no gear-box. I don't know of any other turbines in Australia having annular generators than those at Mount Millar.

Wind speeds

Most Australian turbines can generate power from a wind that is at least four metres per second. Most turbines reach their rated power at about 14m/s, see Efficiency of wind turbines. Most turbines shut down, to protect themselves from damage, at about 25 m/s. The Vestas turbines at Collgar Wind Farm, near Merridin in WA, are rated at 1.86 MW, while the same model at Waterloo Wind Farm is rated at 3 MW. This is because the winds at Merridin are generally lighter than those at Waterloo.



If a turbine is built on bed-rock it can make use of 'rock anchors' to secure a relatively small concrete footing (about 220 tonnes) to the underlying bed-rock. If there is no shallow bed-rock, or the bed-rock is shattered, then heavier footings (about 800 tonnes), that are capable of holding the turbine in place without any attachment to underlying materials, must be used.

Order of assembly

Suzlon turbines are generally built by first placing the first two sections of the tower, followed by the next two tower sections, then the nacelle is lifted. The blades are attached to the hub on the ground and the final big lift raises the entire rotor. Apparently Acciona turbines generally have the hub and blades lifted and attached individually.

Updated 2013/01/07

Community wind farms

Also see Community investment in wind energy.


The rush of applications for involvement in the Mount Alexander community wind farm gave rise to the term TWIMBY; Turbines Wanted In My Back Yard.
There are several wind farms, or proposed wind farms, in Australia that have been called community owned. Those that I have come across are:

Operating or under construction:

Most of German wind power is owned by German citizens
German ownership of wind 
Credit: Wind-Works.org and Paul Gipe
German solar PV is similar, 39% owned by individuals, 21% by farmers.
It is very different in Australia, where big companies own most of the power generation, renewables and others. It doesn't have to be.


  • New England Wind Farm, NSW;
  • A cooperative called CENREC (Central NSW Renewable Energy Co-operative Ltd) has been set up to raise funds and purchase a turbine at Infigen's proposed Flyers Creek Wind Farm;
  • A group calling itself Central Coast Community Energy Association Incorporated (CCCE) is proposing a community owned renewable energy development from sun and wind near Woy Woy, just north of Sydney in NSW;
  • Fremantle Community Wind Farm (WA);
  • Mt Alexander Wind Farm (Castlemaine, Vic);
  • WindLab have approval for a small wind farm at Coonooer Bridge in Victoria that will have a hybrid corporate/community ownership structure.

Community owned wind farm, or not?

When is a wind farm community owned? One would think that a community owned wind farm would be owned by the local community. One might think that anyone within the local community might have the right to partake in investment in the project.

Anyone can buy shares in Hepburn Wind Farm, there is no need for them to be local people. I am informed that there are only 13 share holders in Mount Barker Wind Farm, that one person has a 51% controlling interest and that it is 70% owned by the Great Southern Community.

Two Senate inquiries

The Senate inquiry into the Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms: June 2011

My impression was that the report from the inquiry was reasonable and balanced. I will not try to summarise the report here, it can be downloaded from the Parliament net site.

However, I did notice some errors:

  • Introduction Section 1.7. Installed capacities seems to have been confused with actual generation in the discussion of SA.
  • Noise and health Section 2.11 seismic waves have been confused with infrasound. See Seismic waves.
  • Noise and health Section 2.22 contains a quote from a person "who has 30 wind turbines within two kilometres of his home". It seems to me that the turbines at Waubra are too scattered for there to be 30 within 2km of any point. There would be 30 turbines within a 2km radius at Wattle Point, but no houses at any such point! I cannot think of any wind farm in Australia where this situation would be possible.
  • Property values Section 4.8; the quote is meaningless. The "last offer we received" could be the lowest offer received. How many offers were received? What was their range?
  • Property values Section 4.10; "it had been reported that properties had been devalued by 30 percent". (It has been reported, by ABC reporter Bronwyn Herbert, that most of Australia's wind farms are in Victoria! At that time more than 50% of wind power was in SA.) Many fallacies are reported; this was hearsay without any value.

Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines: August 2015

This committee was intended to produce a report that would be heavily biased against wind turbines; it did not disappoint. It was made up of six senators, four of whom had records of attacking wind power. Senator Nick Xenophon was a 'participating member'.

I have written about the errors and foolish, or simply false, statements regarding wind power made by these senators on other pages on this site:

In particular, the committee's majority report did not so much as mention Health Canada's report on wind farm noise; the most pains-taking report on the subject ever done.

Professor Simon Chapman wrote a piece for The Conversation that discusses turbine noise in relation to sleep disturbance, but also goes into the bias in this report.

Updated 2016/09/06

Opinion surveys

The surveys are listed in chronological order.

Acceptance of wind farms

Opinion survey: Upper Lachlan, Crookwell area, August 2008

The Electoral Commission of NSW conducted a poll for the Upper Lachlan Shire Council. The Crookwell Wind Farm had been built in the council area in 1998.

A summary of the poll results:

  • Residential and non-residential electors enrolled, 5,468
  • Voter turnout: 88.19%
  • The Question put in the poll: Do you support the continuing development and construction of wind farm turbines in the Upper Lachlan Council Area?
  • Yes: 2807; No: 1172
  • There were twelve polling places, every one of them had a substantial majority of 'yes' votes.

Opinion survey: Pacific Hydro, November 2011

In November 2011 Pacific Hydro surveyed attitudes to wind energy in ten communities across Victoria, NSW and SA where wind farms were operating or proposed. The main results were:
  • Nationally – 83% support, 14% opposed, 3% undecided;
  • NSW – 77% support;
  • SA – 90% support;
  • Vic. – 84% support;
The research was done by Qdos, a branch of Interconsult. Pacific Hydro informed me that...
"The ... survey polled 1000 residents across 10 electorates in NSW, SA and Victoria that are in wind farming regions. The Victorian five electorates were also polled (by QDos) in 2010 as part of a similar sized survey (ten electorates in wind farming regions) which yielded very consistent results on wind farm attitudes as we saw from this year's survey.

Results at a macro-level (total survey results) are consistent with the results in each area. While not [every] electorate is statistically significant, the results are consistent across the regions and yield a reliable total result (to within a fairly small margin of error)."

The survey quized one hundred people in each of ten communities: Ripon, Ballarat West and South West Coast (all Victoria), Polworth, Macedon, Goulburn, Yass and Crookwell (all NSW) and Clare and Barossa Valley in SA.

Pacific Hydro were not willing to release the methodology used in the survey. Thus there is a question about the survey accuracy.

Opinion survey: CSIRO, November 2011

A few days before the Pac. Hydro report, CSIRO released a report, "Acceptance of Rural Windfarms in Australia: a snapshot". Some of its key findings were:
  • There is strong community support for wind farms;
  • There is more support than suggested by media reports;
  • Wind farmers might improve acceptance by developing a 'Social licence to Operate' approach.

Opinion survey: Clean Energy Council, December 2011

I have become aware that another survey of wind power acceptance was carried out in late December for the Clean Energy Council, and while the results have not yet (2012/01/26) been officially released, the results showed in the vicinity of a 75% acceptance of wind farms. This survey was carried out by Market Metrics.

Opinion survey: Mid North SA - TRUenergy, March 2011

A Community Survey, March 2011, involving 358 people living near the existing Waterloo, and proposed Stony Gap and Robertstown wind farms. The survey indicated that 66% of respondents were concerned about climate change, 77% supported wind farms, 69% supported nearby wind farms, and a majority saw wind farms as positives for: appearance, tourism, local business, short term jobs, local economy and landholder income.

Opinion survey: Bungendore, Cullerin Range, Woodlawn

Bungendore Wind Farm survey, May 2012

Infigen commissioned QDos Research to conduct a survey into the perceptions of Bungendore Wind Farm (in NSW) held by the local people. Infigen stated that the survey was motivated by a desire to show the facts about public support for the wind farm following "much debate surrounding public opinion on wind farms in Australia". The results were released in May 2012.


Distance from turbines

It is probable that most of the respondents to this survey would have been people who lived in Bungendore and Tarago. Bungendore is 11km from the nearest of the Bungendore turbines; Tarago is 8km from the nearest Woodlawn turbine.
Infigen calculated the approximate population of the area surveyed – Bungendore and Tarago – to be 3300. Of these 200 householders and 34 businesses were interviewed by telephone.

A small selection of the responses to the survey are:

Do you think generating electricity from wind farm benifits the environment?
Benefits, 75%; does not benefit, 10%
Good or bad for the local community?
13 times as many people said it was good rather than bad for the community.
Good or bad for local businesses?
More than 50% said good, only 1% said bad.

NSW Dept. Planning and Infrastructure survey: Bungendore, Cullerin Range, Woodlawn

The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure conducted surveys of people who live within four kilometres of the three above wind farms and reported on these surveys on 2012/05/18. The results are given in a pdf document.


Why the apparently differing results between the QDos and DPI surveys?

First; I am not a statistician, and I did not spend a lot of time examining the methodology and results from the surveys.

Second; obviously the questions are not the same.

Third; the QDos survey was by telephone, the DPI survey apparently was written.

It seems that the more positive results from the QDos survey could be due to the respondents predominantly living further away from the wind farm than those in the DPI survey.

The DPI survey results did not provide any corelation between the degree of annoyance and the distance from the turbines or between the respondent's attitude to turbines and their level of annoyance. The DPI survey did not ask for people's attitudes to wind turbines generally, this too could have been interesting because there is evidence of links between negativity and symptom reporting.

There is not space here for many of the results from the DPI surveys, so I have listed two of what I thought the more important results:

  • Bungendore
    Distraction at night? (n = 30)
    Nill or very little: 50%
    Moderate: 10%
    Highest levels: 40%
    Impact on sleep? (n = 30)
    No impact: 53%
    Neutral or minor: 13%
    High: 33%

  • Cullerin Range
    Distraction at night? (n = 8)
    Nill or very little: 38%
    Moderate: 38%
    Highest levels: 25%
    Impact on sleep? (n = 8)
    No impact: 38%
    Neutral or minor: 38%
    High: 25%

  • Woodlawn
    Distraction at night? (n = 10)
    Nill or very little: 60%
    Moderate: 20%
    Highest levels: 20%
    Impact on sleep? (n = 9)
    No impact: 56%
    Neutral or minor: 33%
    High: 11%

Opinion survey: The Australia Institute, December 2014

Two reports on research done by The Australia Institute examined the impact of, and broad public attitudes toward, wind power and solar energy. A few extracts from the Australia Institute's summary of the results:
Australians are clearly concerned about the existing and long-term impacts of our national addiction to fossil-fuels. They clearly envisage a future powered by renewables," said Dr Jeremy Moss, Director of the Social Justice Initiative at University of Melbourne and a co-author of the reports.

More than 80 per cent the public polled rank solar and wind in their top three preferred energy sources. This stands in strong contrast to a mere 35 percent who nominated coal as a preferred energy source, while a further 60 per cent expressed distinct concern about coal and coal seam gas having a detrimental impact on the environment.

The research reveals more than 60 per cent of Australians are concerned with the detrimental impact of coal and CSG on the landscape, compared with a mere 13 per cent who express concern for the environmental effects of solar power. It also finds no credible basis for claims that wind power may damage health.

Opinion survey: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, November 2015

Community Attitudes to Renewable Energy in NSW; summary page; full report, pdf.

The survey was conducted from late August to mid-September 2014, the report was dated November 2015. The following is quoted from the summary page...

  • Most respondents support electricity generation from renewable technologies
    There was overwhelming support for the use of renewable energy across NSW. Nine out of 10 respondents strongly supported (49%) or supported (43%) electricity generation from renewables.
  • Most respondents want more renewable energy
    Eighty-three per cent of survey respondents wanted more electricity generated from renewable sources over the next 5 years. Only 3% wanted less.
  • Most respondents were aware of specific renewable energy technologies
    Solar and wind were the renewable energy technologies most respondents were aware of.
  • Most respondents supported the development of wind and solar farms, even close to home
    Respondents outside the Sydney, Newcastle and Illawarra metro areas were asked about their support for wind and solar farms. Even within 2 kilometres of where they lived, 59% supported wind farm development and 78% supported solar farms.

Opinion survey: Crystal Brook Energy Park, 2018 and 2019

This proposed development is within five kilometres of my home, so is of particular interest to me, see Why I support the local wind farm. A poll in a local newspaper showed 83% support for the energy park in 2018. Another poll, included with a very negative article about the proposed energy park in 2019 showed 74% support.

Councils and wind farms

I'm sure there are a huge number of aspects to the relationship between local government and wind farms; I'm only going to write of one at this time.

Council income and wind farms

Wind farms are very expensive developments. They have very high capital values. It is difficult to find out how much income councils get from wind farm developments.

In one of Acciona's newsletters (#18) for the Waubra Wind Farm it was stated that "Almost $1 million has been paid to Pyrenees Shire Council and City of Ballarat through rates".

In the minutes for the Waterloo/Stony Gap wind farm Community Liason Committee meeting minutes for August 2012 it was stated that about $50 000 was paid as planning fees for the six-turbine Waterloo stage 2 proposal; the corresponding figure for the 37-turbine Waterloo Wind Farm's planning fees were $196 000.

Altered 2012/11/08

Who opposes wind power development?

Most, but not all, of the active opposition to wind power in Australia is based on misinformation, fallacies and hidden agendas. (The motivations of supporters and objectors are discussed elsewhere on this page.)

There are several main groups or classes of opposition:

  • The fossil-fuel industry – who do not want to loose market share to renewables and who have a strong influence over both the big political parties, but in particular, the Liberal Party;
  • The Liberal Party;
  • The Labor Party, while not being stridently opposed to renewable energy, like the Liberal Party, is half-hearted in its support of renewables. The Gillard Labor Government subsidises the fossil fuel industry with billions of dollars each year;
  • The media, who are perhaps more at fault from their desire for sensational and emotional reporting than being systematically and purposely opposed to renewables;
  • Those who (mistakenly) believe that wind turbines make people sick;
  • Those who (mistakenly) believe that wind farms are useless, are economically unjustified or cause more environmental harm than good;
  • Those who support wind power in general but oppose a particular wind farm for NIMBY reasons, for envy of neighbours who will profit while the objector misses out, for feelings of 'invasion of place' or similar reasons.
  • Those who believe that nuclear power is the only non-fossil fuel option (in fact the two are not mutually exclusive);
  • Those who simply don't like wind turbines and wind farms and don't look beyond their personal wants;
  • Perhaps some who feel we should be greatly reducing our energy consumption rather than ever increasing our energy generation.
Many of the people in these groups are willing to lie in an effort to achieve their aim of stopping wind farm development.

There is a very strong, organised and entrenched opposition to wind power in Australia. While the fossil fuel industry does not readily admit to opposing renewable energy it is very hard to immagine where else this lobbying and misinformation campaign could be coming from. Why should the Liberal Party be opposed to renewable energy development in Australia if they are not being pushed by the mining and fossil fuels industries? They must know that renewables are very popular among the Australian people, so they wouldn't be doing it for reason of chasing votes.

Opposition to renewable energy in the Murdoch media seems particularly strong; I wonder if this is due to links with the fossil fuel or mining industry.

I have written more on this subject on a dedicated page.

Altered 2012/11/08

The motivation of wind farm supporters and objectors


Motivation and attitude

Motivation has a lot in common with attitude and our attitude to wind turbines can have important consequences to ourselves should we live near a wind farm.

Willingness to lie

It can be surprising how many people are willing to lie as a means of supporting their opposition to wind farms; see Wind Power Lies.

Age: an observation

Most wind power opponents seem to be over 50. (I should add that I am well over 60.)
In most other sections on the Wind Power pages I have tried to concentrate on the facts as I have learned of them. In this section I am making personal observations and speculations.

What motivates those who support and those who object to wind farms? Are the motivations selfish or altruistic? Are the supporters and objectors concerned mainly with local matters or with global matters? (I should say here that I do not necessarily condemn those who object for selfish reasons; we all have the right to look after ourselves; if we don't in many cases no-one else will.) Of course NIMBYism is relevant here.

Many supporters, including spokesmen for the wind farming companies, talk about the advantages that will accrue to the local area. Companies do not have motivations; it is only people who have motivations. The spokesmen for the wind farm companies, I suspect, in most cases are motivated by the need to convince the local people of the desirability of the wind farm.

Then there is the motivation of the bosses of the corporations involved. Several, perhaps most, of the companies that are operating or proposing wind farms also have heavy investment in fossil fuels: coal, gas, coal-seam gas. One would have to wonder how keen these people are to see wind power succeed.

Motivations of supporters and objectors
Those who own the land on which the turbines are to be built will often, quite understandably, be wanting the significant additional income they see they will be getting if the wind farm is built. So many of these will be motivated by self-interest.

Many of the supporters, myself included, are motivated by a belief that climate change and ocean acidification are huge looming disasters and that renewable energy must be adopted to reduce the production of greenhouse gasses. So the motivation of this group is from a concern for the good of the biosphere and is altruistic.

Presumably those who do not live anywhere near wind farms, are not involved in the industry and support wind farms do so because they believe the world must change from fossil fuels to sustainable energy for environmental reasons; again, an altruistic motivation. I should comment here that this group have little to loose from the building of wind farms elsewhere than near them.

Wind farm objectors are of several distinct types. Those who object to having wind farms built near them are acting on selfish motives. There are the objectors who believe that the good of the local area, or the local people, needs to take a higher priority than the good of the earth as a whole.

Some oppose a nearby wind farm because of envy. They see that their neighbours are going to do very well financially, while they themselves seem to be missing out.

Many objectors will talk about bird and bat kills and claim that wind turbines are a waste of money; but one gets the impression that these are not their motivations. These are arguments that they have adopted because the objectors believe they are arguments that will support their cases. It is remarkable how many people become environmentalists when it suits their selfish ends to do so.

Many of the most vociferous objectors to renewable energy are motivated by the desire to support the fossil fuel industry, because their financial interests are in that industry. These are motivated by selfish aims and are unethical. These people will, of course, try to hide their true motivations, because they are usually quite aware of the immorality of their stance.

The Liberals, including Rowan Ramsey, must be motivated by a desire to support the mining and fossil fuel industries – who, in turn, support them with campaign donations.

In the case of Dr Sarah Laurie, who is an outspoken wind farm objector, my impression is that while her concern was triggered by a proposed local wind farm, her main motivation is that she (wrongly) believes that wind turbines are making people ill.

The 'supporters' column is much narrower than the 'objectors' column. Similarly there are many more vocal objectors than vocal supporters. Unfortuneatly it seems much more to be in human nature to complain about something that you see as to your personal disadvantage than to support something that you see as being to the advantage of all. (See Selfishness or altruism.)

Interestingly, I have been told of one farmer who told his neighbour, "If I get turbines on my place I am for them, otherwise I'm opposed".

Also see my motivation for writing these pages.


Altered 2016/05/20

About the 'Wind in the Bush' pages

My motivation


Using these pages: some hints

Most of the pages of 'Wind in the Bush' are set out like reference books. There is a contents list at the top of each page and at least one index at the bottom of almost all pages. Use these to find the subject you want, or use CTRL F to find words or phrases that interest you. There is also a search box near the top of this page. All the main pages of 'Wind in the Bush' are listed at the top left of this page and on each of the states' pages.

The greater good?

It could be claimed that I am willing to lie in support of wind power, and justify that to myself by the belief that the lying is a small wrong that is more than made up for by 'the greater good' of delaying climate change. Not so. Apart from the ethical objection to lying, lies are usually detected in time and when that happens the liar is discredited. Lying would, in the long run, be counterproductive.


Unlike several anti-wind power and climate science denial organisations (the two often go hand-in-hand) that solicit donations these pages are written and maintained entirely at my own expense. A person or organisation that seeks donations (for example Wind Watch and Jo Nova) to do their work have an incentive to exaggerate and lie in order to get more notoriety and then more donations.
My motivation in writing these pages, in a word, is ethics. Everyone in the world, especially those who live in the countries that produce more than their fair share of the greenhouse gasses, has an ethical responsibility to try to reduce the rate of greenhouse gas production.

I have followed climate change science for thirty years or more; I have been reading and subscribing to Scientific American for about 35 years. Climate change and ocean acidification, both caused largely by the greenhouse gasses that humanity is putting into the atmosphere, will be disasters of a magnitude that few people even grasp. They will result in thousands or, more likely, millions of species becoming extinct; extensive changes to almost all of the world's environments; and the displacement and possibly the deaths of billions of people.

The development of renewable energy will slow the impact of climate change and ocean acidification. Wind power (followed increasingly closely by solar PV) happens to be the most market-ready form of renewable energy available to us in the early part of the 21st century.

I have no desire to see anyone harmed, but if we can significantly slow the onset of climate change at the cost of some thousands or tens of thousands of people world-wide being slightly inconvenienced by hearing and seeing wind turbines, I see that as a price well worth paying.

So, I want renewable energy to be developed as quickly as possible for the good of the planet and the best way in which that can be achieved is for people to be helped to understand the facts of wind power, rather than hearing and reading only the lies and delusions that are spread by those who are opposed to wind turbines.

Also see why support wind power and motivations of supporters and objectors to wind farms.

In response to some of the attacks that objectors make on my Net pages it seems that I need to say that I am not under any delusions that the big power companies such as Energy Australia are generally admirable or 'good guys'; I fully realise that they are mainly building wind farms in order to make a profit. Energy Australia, for example, not only builds and owns wind farms, but also highly polluting coal-fired power stations. These pages are an attempt to support renewable energy, not to support the big corporations that are building wind farms.

Facts and errors

If you find an error (of fact or omission) on a sustainable energy or any other page you will be doing me a favour by pointing it out so that I can correct it; my email address is daveclarkecb@yahoo.com and is also near the top of each page. Obviously, since my primary aim is ethical, misrepresentation of the facts cannot be acceptable to me.

My aim is that everything on these pages that is not plainly an opinion should be true and also verifiable. I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it.


All photos on these pages are mine unless otherwise indicated. The background photo for the wind farm pages, and the title photo on this page, are of Wattle Point Wind Farm, Yorke Peninsula, SA. The title photo on the Wind Victoria page is of the Toora Wind Farm, that of the Wind SA page is of the Brown Hill Range Wind Farm and that of the Wind WA page is of the Albany Wind Farm.

Why not in Wikipedia?

I considered working on the appropriate Wikipedia pages rather than writing these sustainable energy pages, but decided to 'do my own thing' for the following reasons:
  • Political comment seems inappropriate in Wikipedia pages on sustainable energy, but I believe criticism of governments is important if Australia is ever to substantially replace its fossil-fuel-based electrical generating systems with sustainable energy systems.
  • Any work that I do on a Wikipedia page can be altered or deleted by somebody else.
  • I have full control over the format of these pages.
  • I can request and receive feedback from readers.
  • I can work on the pages without being connected to the Net.
  • I have an ego; having put many hundreds of hours of work into these pages, I want my name on them.

What relative importance is placed on aspects of wind power on these pages?

Wind power subjects
SubjectWhy do I consider it important?
The facts about wind powerThere is a lot of fiction out there and it cannot be overcome unless people can also find the facts.
Standing of wind power in AustraliaWind is a major source of sustainable energy, and the fastest growing (although solar PV is giving it a nudge around 2011, 2012); people should be able to find the relevant information.
Government supportAustralia has an ethical responsibility to reduce its massive greenhouse gas production rate; if companies and citizens do not behave ethically then government must take the responsible for forcing ethical practice on them.
Individual wind farms
In order of decreasing emphasis
Name(s) of wind farmIdentifies the project
Size of projectNo. of turbines, size of each (in MW)
StatusEg. Proposed, approved, construction, operating
LocationImportant for obvious reasons
GenerationParticularly capacity factor; how effective is the wind farm?
When built?To place it in a historical context
Community aspectsDoes the owner contribute to a community fund? Do they try to keep the community and the world informed?
Who owns it?Ownership changes, but I consider ownership by a company or a community organisation to be an important distinction.
Turbine make/typeBrand name of the turbines, type of turbines (eg. do they have a gearbox [most do], do they rotate at a constant or variable speed?)
Who built it?The major contractors involved

My affiliations

I (David Clarke, the author of these pages) am independent of any company, lobby group, or government; however as of February 2012 I did have the following affiliations:
  • Moderator, Yes to Renewables – Australia;
  • Member, Community Liaison Group for Waterloo and Stony Gap wind farms;
  • Life member Trees For Life, South Australia;
  • I have financially supported the Australian Greens and was for many years a member of the Australian Democrats;
  • I have given donations to, and continue to support, various environmental conservation groups as well as general charities;
  • I am a supporter of 'Death with dignity';
I have never received payment for services from any wind power organisation; I have, however, sold rights to photographs to a number of organistations, including wind farmers. I have accepted free registration for a wind power conference (Adelaide 2013).

Also see my motivation in writing these pages.

General index to this page: Wind power in Australia

On this page...
About these pages
Acceptance of wind farms
Australian Antarctic Territory Wind Farm
Benefits of wind power
Biggest wind farms in Oz-graph
CO2 abatement by wind farms
CO2 reduction from one wind turbine
Capacity factor
Capacity factor achieved
Capacity factors of conventional power stations-graph
Capacity factors of wind farms-graph
Chronology of wind farm construction
Cocos Island Wind Farm
Community funding
Community investment in wind energy
Community wind farms
Components of wind turbine
Construction stages: wind farm
Cost of wind power (on a separate page)
Councils and wind farms
Differences in turbines
Energy return on investment
Energy return on investment-graph
Energy return on investment-table
Evolution of wind turbines
Facts and errors
Frequency Control and Ancillary Services (FCAS)
Future of wind power
Generation rate change with time
How big can wind turbines get
How does Australia compare
Installed wind power-table
Installed wind power, World and Oz-graph
Installed wind power, by wind farm-table
Leading countries in wind power-table
Level playing field
Limits to growth
Limits to wind turbine size
Links relating to wind power
Major wind farms in Australia
Major wind farms in Australia-table
Motivation of supporters and objectors
My affiliations
My motivation
Number of homes supplied
Off-shore wind power
Operating wind farms MW generated-graph
Opinion surveys
Payments to land-owners
Power generation of wind farms
Power generation of wind farms-graph
Power generation of wind farms-table
Price agreements in Australia
Relative importance
Small wind disadvantaged
Steps in building a wind farm
Survey-Bungendore Wind Farm
Survey-Pacific Hydro
Survey-TRUenergy Mid North SA
Tourism and wind farms
Two Senate inquiries
Typical wind turbine-illustration
Who opposes wind power development?
Why not in Wikipedia
Will Australia reach 20% by 2020
Wind farm construction steps
Wind farm power generation
Wind farms under construction
Wind farms under construction-table
Wind forecasting
Wind power by states-graph
Wind power capacity in Australia
Wind power in Australia
Wind power in territories
Wind power installed per capita-graph
Wind turbine art
Wind turbines and sailing ships
World wind power

Wind farm index

References to 'Wind Farm' (capitalised) are here, references to 'wind farm' and 'wind farms' (capitalised or not) are in the general index on the home page.

Archer Point
Asian Renewable Energy Hub, WA, Pilbara
Bald Hills
Barn Hill
Ben Lomond
Ben More
Black Rock Community
Black Springs
Bluff Point
Bluff Range
Boco Rock
Bremer Bay
Brown Hill Range
Cape Bridgewater
Cape Nelson
Cape Sir William Grant
Capital 2
Carmodys Hill
Carrajung and Blackwarry
Carrolls Ridge
Cathedral Rocks
Cattle Hill
Ceres Project
Challicum Hills
Cherry Tree
Clarke Creek
Clements Gap
Coconut Island
Cocos Island
Collaby Hill
Coober Pedy wind turbine
Coonooer Bridge
Coopers Gap
Coral Bay
Crookwell 2
Crookwell 3
Crows Nest
Crudine Ridge
Crystal Brook
Cullerin Range
Devon North
Discovery Bay
Elliston Stage 1
Elliston Stage 2
Emu Downs
Flat Rocks
Flinders Island
Flyers Creek
Glen Innes
Golden Plains
Goulburn District
Goyder Renewables Zone
Granite Hills
Granville Harbour
Green Point
Gullen Range
Hallett Hill
Hampton Park
Hepburn Community
High Road
Hills of Gold
Huxley Hill
Kaban Green Power Hub
Kemmis Hill
King Island
Kyoto Energy Park
Lake Bonney Stage 1
Lake Bonney Stage 2
Lake Bonney Stage 3
Lake George
Lake Gillear
Lake Hamilton-Sheringa
Lal Lal
Lincoln Gap
Liverpool Range
Logans Beach
Lord Howe Island
Low Head
Marcus Hill
Moonies Hill
Mortons Lane
Mount Alexander
Mount Barker
Mount Benson
Mount Bryan
Mount Emerald
Mount Fyans
Mount Gellibrand
Mount Hill
Mount Mercer
Mount Millar
Mount Spring
Murra Warra
Myponga-Sellicks Hill
New England
Nine Mile Beach
Nirranda South
North Brown Hill
North Stradbroke Island
Nundle Wind Farm
Oaklands Hill
Pilbara, WA: Asian Renewables Hub
Paling Yards
Point Lonsdale
Port Augusta
Port Kembla
Pykes Hill
Rabbit Ridge
Rifle Butts
Robbins Island
Rock Road
Rottnest Island
Ryan Corner
Rye Park
Salmon Beach
Salt Creek
Shannons Flat
Sheoak Flat
Sheringa Beach
Sidonia Hills
Snowy Plains
Southern Highlands
Spring Hill
St Clair
Star of the South
Starfish Hill
Stockyard Hill
Stony Gap
Studland Bay
Ten Mile Lagoon
Thompson Beach
Thursday Island
Timboon (West)
Troubridge Point
Twofold Bay
Vincent North
Walkaway 2
Wattle Point Stage 2
Wattle Point
Waubra North
White Rock (NSW)
Western Plains
Windy Hill
Woakwine Range
Worlds End
Yaloak South
Yass Valley
Yawong Wind Farm

See also...

Pages on wind farms in each state...
New South Wales
South Australia
Western Australia

Wind farm photo pages...
Canunda/Lake Bonney
Mount Millar
Starfish Hill
Wattle Point

Solar power in Australia

Sustainable energy in Australia

The index on the left is generated by a computer search for a class of hypertext references to 'wind farm'; references to 'wind farms' and 'wind farm ' (note the final space character) are excluded from this index and are listed in the Australia Master Index.

The number of entries does not give an indication of the number of (proposed and operating) wind farms in Australia because several farms have two names, both of which are listed in the index.