Australian Daily Wind Power Generation Data – Introduction With Permanent Link To Daily Posts

Posted on Tue 10/01/2019 by


By Anton Lang ~

This Series of Posts will show the data for wind power in Australia.

This is the Permanent link to all those Posts in that Series.

The image you see immediately below is of the Macarthur Wind Plant in Victoria Australia, and this is the largest wind plant currently in Australia. It has a Nameplate of 420MW and has 140 of those huge towers, each with a nacelle on top which contains a 3MW generator.

Macarthur Wind Plant In Victoria Australia

I have recently completed a Series of Posts for electrical power generation from every source here in Australia, and that was a collection of data for every day in one complete year of consecutive days. Now while this collection of data was done on a manual basis, there are now sites which give those same details without my having to compile them manually in such a time consuming manner on that same daily basis. So, what I have done has in effect now become redundant, as even I can now refer to that other site for any information I require, and it is also a time saver for me, as it frees up the three to four hours a day it took me to compile all that data.

One source from that Series detailed all the data for wind power in Australia. Now while all the data I collected is shown at those other sites, part of the data for wind power, the Capacity Factor is one piece of data which is not shown at any of those sites, so it worthwhile continuing to show that data for wind power, if only to include that one vital piece of information.

Now, here, Capacity Factor is important, because while all sites which show the power generation data include that total generated power, all of them show the Nameplate only, and that indicates the Maximum power of the plant itself, and in the case of the plant shown in the image, Macarthur Wind Plant, that Nameplate is 420MW.

Now most people see that figure for the Nameplate and assume that figure is what is actually delivered in power to the grid. However, that is not the case. There may actually be the very occasional time when (in the case of Macarthur) that whole 420MW is delivered, but occasions like that are very rare indeed. The nature of wind power is that the power is only generated when the wind is blowing within a certain range of speeds. So, if there is too little wind, the blades do not turn, hence no power is generated, and if there is too much wind, again, the blades will be turned off so they are not destroyed in those high wind conditions. So that means power is only generated whilst the blades are turning in those ideal wind conditions. There will be times when those conditions are good for extended periods of time, and a lot of power is generated, and there will also be times when there is little wind and very little power is generated. It changes on a daily basis, and in fact, can change on an hourly basis as well. So wind power generation can range between high and low over a matter of hours. Because the wind is variable like this, it never actually equates to the actual requirements for power generation (which exactly mirrors power consumption) and that is something which has never changed since electricity was first used. That actual total power generation is shown in what is referred to as a Load Curve. That I can show you in the sequence of these three images shown below, and again, while these images are shown at a small size to fit across the page, if you click on each image, it will open on a new page and at a larger size so you can better see the detail.

The image at the left shows the total power generation for this day from every source, and each colour indicates a power generating source. Note the shape of the black line across the top of the colours. This is the Load Curve for total power generation.

The middle image shows the power generation just from wind power on this same day. Note how it starts in the middle of the graph, falls to the low for the day at around 2PM, and then gradually rises again to the maximum for the day. See how the shape does not really correlate with the Load Curve for total power generation, the black line in that first image.

The third image at right shows the overall total power generation Load Curve, that upper black line, and the green colour along the bottom of the graph, and that green colour indicates the total for wind power on this same day. Now, the green colour does not look the same as for the wind power total in that middle graph, but they are the same, as what has been done here is a change in scale, the only way that wind power total can be shown on the same scale as the total power generation black line at the top. You can see that scale change on that left vertical axis where it shows Dispatchable power in MW for the wind image and Dispatchable power in GW for the other two images.

So, while those other sites show the bare numbers for power generation for wind power, numbers which mean relatively little by comparison, the only reason I am continuing to show just wind power generation is that numbers just don’t show how and when that power is being generated across the day, and they also do not show that image comparing wind power to the Overall power generation, because that single image best shows how very little wind power is actually contributing towards the overall power generation, and how far it has to go before making any serious impact at all.


So then, having now explained the way the graphs show the generated power, and their comparison with the overall power, the second, and probably more important thing I wanted to show, something not shown at any of those other sites, is the Capacity Factor for wind power on an ongoing basis, the daily, weekly, and the yearly rolling average Capacity Factor for wind power.

Capacity Factor is the relationship between actual generated power and the Nameplate. It is in fact the Industry Standard for calculation of this indicator. It is worked out over time, and can be at any one point in time, for a whole day, for a seven day period, or for a whole year, and that yearly figure is the indicator most used for any power generation source. It is calculated as follows for a one year time period:

Nameplate multiplied by 24, and then multiplied by 365.25, and this gives you the total generated power. (Here, the figure of 24 is the hours in a day, and the figure of 365.25 is the days in a year with the extra .25 accounting for the leap year) You then divide the actual generated power by the total of the earlier calculation and multiply by 100 to give you a percentage.

Currently, the year round Capacity Factor for wind power is 30%. Some people, mainly wind power supporters, will undoubtedly claim that figure is too low. However, I have used this figure for virtually all the time I have been writing about wind power here in Australia, now, more than 11 years now, and it has proved to be accurate. I also calculated it on that daily, weekly, and rolling average percentage during the most recent Series I completed on Australian power generation from every source. At the end of one complete year, 52 weeks in all, and 365 full days, the rolling average for Capacity Factor after that full year came in at 29.39%, as close to that 30% figure as you could hope for. That percentage is not just for a single plant, but for the whole fleet of all 55 wind plants. so, effectively, here we have a total Nameplate of 6702MW, and operating on a year round basis, they are only delivering the same power as just under 30% of that Nameplate, so just 2010MW in total, across the whole year. So, where you see for instance a Nameplate for a wind plant like Macarthur of 420 MW, the actual delivered power for a whole year only comes in at 126MW. THAT is what Capacity Factor is.

So, having that full year’s total of that 29.39%, I can use that as my starting point, and add to that at the end of each week with a new rolling average for that Capacity Factor. As each new wind power plant comes on line to deliver power to the grid, that calculation will change, and in fact, it changed six times during this recently completed Series of mine, and each time I changed the calculation to reflect that changed increase in Nameplate.

So, starting now, I will be adding a Post every day showing the wind power generation graph, and that second graph comparing wind power to the total generated power. I will also show the data for wind power for that day, and the daily Capacity Factor calculation. At the end of each week, I will then update the data by adding the weekly Capacity Factor and the Rolling Average Capacity Factor.

Anton Lang uses the screen name of TonyfromOz, and he writes at this site, PA Pundits International on topics related to electrical power generation, from all sources, concentrating mainly on Renewable Power, and how the two most favoured methods of renewable power generation, Wind Power and all versions of Solar Power, fail comprehensively to deliver levels of power required to replace traditional power generation. His Bio is at this link.