Home
Wind home


On this page...

Whyalla
Between Whyalla and Port Augusta
Port Augusta
Coober Pedy
Jamestown/Burra
  The Big Battery
Snowtown
Crystal Book
Pockets of negativity
Conclusions
Related pages

Northern South Australia's Renewable Energy

The northern part of the state of South Australia is showing the way to a clean, sustainable future for the remainder of the nation.

The northern Spencer Gulf cities of Port Augusta and Whyalla have long been strong supporters of renewable power projects, but until very recently, while the will was there, action was missing. The problem has been the minimal support of renewable energy from Australian federal governments, particularly Coalition governments. Smaller northern towns such as Jamestown, Burra, Snowtown, Coober Pedy and Crystal Brook have been, and continue to be, centres for exciting developments.

I've written elsewhere about Mid North South Australia leading the nation in renewables, this page shows that areas further north and west are joining the trend.

This page was written 2017/07/29, modified 2017/12/12
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David K. Clarke) – ©
Home
Wind home


 
Google search Ramblings


Whyalla

 
Whyalla Solar farm
Solar farm
2017/09/10
The first big renewable energy project for Whyalla is shown in the photo on the right. It is the first 6 MW stage of a proposed 150 MW Surpass Sun Electric (SSE) Australia solar PV farm. SSE is a Chinese company.

Adani, a company better known for its coal mining has proposed another solar PV farm. It seems that even Adani can see that the world is moving away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy. Adani's Internet site states that they have lodged a Development Approval application. I believe they are working toward a $250 million 160 MW solar power station.

And Sanjeev Gupta, who heads GFG Alliance, the company that is to take over the Whyalla steelworks, plans a renewable energy development to make the steelworks at least partly energy self-sufficient in the future.

Nyngan Solar Farm is the biggest in Australia at the time of writing, but the proposed solar farm at Whyalla, and Bungala solar farm (in the very early stages of construction) at Port Augusta, will be bigger.

Between Whyalla and Port Augusta

 
Tumut 3 hydro power station, Snowy Mountains
Talbingo
Energy Australia has proposed a 100 MW pumped hydro system using seawater. It is expected that it will be able to supply power for six to eight hours and be about a third the cost of a battery having the same capacity. ARENA (Australian Renewable ENergy Agency) have supported a feasibility study on this.

Ross Garnaut and Zen Energy have proposed a similar development in the same area.

A group in the Australian National University, headed by Professor Andrew Blakers, is also looking into the potential for pumped hydro energy storage in Australia.

Pictured at the right is one of a very few hydro-power stations combined with pumped-hydro energy storage currently in Australia.

When electricity is plentiful and cheap it is used to pump water from the lower to the upper storage, in effect storing the energy from the electricity in the water. When demand increases or generation declines, the water is allowed back down through the turbines to generate more electricity.

Some 97% of the world's energy storage in 2017 is in the form of pumped hydro. The main advantage that batteries have over pumped storage is that a big battery bank can be built in six months, while a pumped storage system will take something like three years. In a nation like Australia, with no effective energy policies coming from the federal governments, the long-term planning needed for new pumped hydro projects has been sadly lacking.

 
Home
Top
Prime Minister Turnbull instigated a feasibility study for adding up to 2000 MW of pumped hydro to the Snowy Mountain Scheme. We can only hope that it is actually built, and in the near future.

Port Augusta

 
Sundrop Farms – the solar power installation
Sundrop Farms solar
Photo taken with my drone
The people and council of Port Augusta have for years pressed for the construction of a solar thermal power station with energy storage. (I took part in walk of over 300km from Port Augusta to Adelaide with a group of about 70 people, organised by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, back in 2012 to push for a solar thermal power station.)

There are also two wind farms proposed for nearby: Lincoln Gap and the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park. The latter is proposed to have a maximum generating capacity of 375 MW and will combine wind turbines with solar PV. Lincoln Gap wind farm (212 MW) construction could start as early as later this year (2017).

Also at Port Augusta, construction on the first 110 MW stage of Bungala solar farm started just recently. Another 110 MW second stage is also proposed, but even at 110 MW Bungala will be bigger than the largest solar power station currently in Australia, the 102 MW Nyngan station, pictured above.

Finally, just south of Port Augusta is the imaginative and innovative Sundrop Farms.

Coober Pedy

 
Construction of Coober Pedy Wind Farm, February 2017
Turbine construction
Image credit Coober Pedy Regional Times
This famous opal mining town in the outback hundreds of kilometres from any city and from grid power, recently built two wind turbines and two megawatts of solar power. It is expected that the system will provide Coober Pedy with 70% renewable energy over the 20 year life of the project.

ARENA (Australian Renewable ENergy Agency) has partly funded this project.
 
Home
Top

Jamestown/Burra

 
Sunrise on Brown Hill Range
Sunrise on Brown Hill Range
The Hallett wind farms totalling 350 MW were built east of Jamestown and north-east of Burra a few years ago and the big Hornsdale wind farms north of Jamestown (another 309 MW) are nearing completion at the time of writing.

The Big Battery

The "Tesla Big Battery", that has recently had huge media coverage and will be the biggest in the world, at 100 MW maximum power and energy storage of 129 MWh, is due for completion before the summer of 2017/18.

As there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about the Big Battery, it is worth stating that it will not store enough energy to supply the state if other electricity supplies fail; it is not designed to do that. As explained in The Conversation by Ariel Liebman and Kaveh Rijab Khalilpour, 2017/07/11, it is designed to support grid stability.

August 2017

Work started on yet another wind farm between Jamestown and Burra, Willogoleche Wind Farm; another 32 state-of-the-art turbines.

Snowtown

 
Turbine and fog
Fog streaming between turbines at Snowtown Wind Farm
2008/05/05
Tilt Renewables, operator of the highly successful 371 MW Snowtown Wind Farm, possibly the most energy-productive of any in Australia, has announced a $100 million 50 MW solar farm. (The Macarthur Wind Farm in Victoria has a bigger installed capacity, 420 MW, but a much lower capacity factor, 26% in 2016 against Snowtown at around 40%. Macarthur generates an average of around 960 GWh per year against 1300 GWh for Snowtown.)

Tilt representatives state that wind tends to decline during the middle of the day, causing wind power generation also to fall off. They have calculated that the output of the solar farm, which will reach its maximum in the middle of the day, will keep generation up right through the day.
 
Home
Top

Crystal Book

 
One of the Clements Gap turbines
Clements Gap turbine
Clements Gap WF is about 15km south of Crystal Brook
Clements Gap Wind Farm was built about 15km south of Crystal Brook in 2009. There was very little opposition, and the wind farm has been a great asset to the community, not least for the $50,000 or more that the operators, Pacific Hydro, have donated for community projects each year.

French company Neoen has proposed the Crystal Brook Energy Park that will combine 34 wind turbines (with a total capacity of up to 136 MW) with a solar farm of 50-100 MW and a big battery with a power capacity of 30-100 MW. One of the many positives of this project is the $80,000 per year that Neoen have promised for community projects.
 
Home
Top

Two small pockets of negativity

 
Site of some of the proposed Crystal Brook Energy Park wind turbines
Turbine site
Perhaps the only pockets of negativity in the region are the anti-environment Port Pirie Regional Councillors (who were responsible for destruction of roadside vegetation in contravention of their own development plan) and a few people in the vicinity of the proposed Crystal Brook Energy Park. While the local objectors say that "renewable energy is important" they don't want it close to them.

I authored a leaflet in support of the Energy Park that a friend, my wife and I distributed in Crystal Brook in late July 2017 (I have a house in the town). Interestingly all of the feedback from that leaflet was positive.

There is a net page for Crystal Brook Energy Park supporters and I have written about why I personally support the Energy Park.

Conclusions

Blind Freddy could see that renewable energy is the way of the future; it must be if we are to combat climate change and ocean acidification. It is reasuring that most of the people who live in the northern parts of South Australia must also be able to see that because they are overwhelmingly accepting of the developments and proposed developments.

Obviously, renewable energy developments have brought, and continues to bring, a lot of much-needed economic activity and employment to the northern parts of South Australia; the people of most of the region appreciate this.

It is fortunate that the decision about the Crystal Brook Energy Park is up to state government and not the stick-in-the-mud Port Pirie councillors or those few selfish local people who seem unable to appreciate anything beyond their own visual preferences.





Related pages

On this site

How should Australia generate its electricity?
Mid-North South Australia, leading the nation in renewable energy
Northern SA's renewables
SA's successful adoption of renewables
Base load power: the facts
Wind power in Australia
Impressive renewable energy developments in Australia
Pumped hydro energy storage

Climate change
Climate change, natural disasters and what we should be doing
Major threatened disasters compared
Greatest crime in history
The end of coal
The Turnbull Australian Government

On the Internet

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction report: The human cost of weather-related disasters 1995-2015.
Renew Economy; AGL ridicules Coalition request to keep Liddell [coal-fired power station] open extra 5 years.
The Conversation; Why coal-fired power stations need to shut on health grounds, David Shearman, 2016/11/28.
The Uninhabitable Earth, Annotated Edition, by David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine.
AGL's statement on the Liddell closure
Origin Energy boss regects coal


Home
Wind home
Top
Home
Wind home
Top