Australian Weekly Wind Power Generation Data – Introduction And Permanent Link To All Data Posts

Posted on Mon 09/26/2022 by

13


By Anton Lang ~

With this Series of Posts, I will be detailing the data for wind generation across all Australian Wind Plants across the vast area covered by the AEMO, and this is the major Australian Grid covering all of Australia, excepting the State of Western Australia, which has its own Grid and that is only an independent total that is the equivalent of 8% of that AEMO coverage area.

With this Introduction, I’ll explain the data, using the example of the most recent week’s data for wind generation from the week of first Posting this Introduction. That data will be shown on a table, the example shown below. Each of the Weekly Posts will be visible all the time at our Site here, and each day, I will add the data from the previous day. At the end of the week (Sunday) I will then add to this the totals and averages for the week, and then also add both of the long term averages for Capacity Factor as well. The following day, a new Post will be added for the coming week.

Each of these weekly Posts will then be placed into a consolidated group for all Posts in the Series, and they can then be always available, and all Posts in this new Series can be viewed at this link.

The image shown below is of one of the recent additions to the Industrial Wind Plant Inventory here in Australia. This is the Stockyard Hill wind plant in Central Western Victoria. It has a total Nameplate Capacity of 531MW, and has 149 individual wind towers with Nacelles on top, each nacelle containing a Goldwind generator of 3.57MW Capacity. This wind plant is majority owned by Goldwind Australia, a subsidiary of the Chinese Goldwind Company, which builds, owns and operates wind plants in Australia. Each tower is 110 metres tall, so the same as for a 33 storey skyscraper, and the blades as they rotate are another 70 metres on top of that.

Stockyard Hill Wind Plant in Central Western Victoria, the largest wind plant in Australia

For the last four years now, I have been keeping the daily data for all wind generation for the vast AEMO Grid coverage area here in Australia. I had one year’s data as part of my Series on all power generation, and to that, I added the last three year’s worth of daily data in the Series just dedicated solely to Wind Generation on its own. All of that daily data can be seen at the following two links.

Australian Daily Wind Power Generation Data – Introduction

Permanent Link to all daily posts for Australian Daily Wind Power Generation

When something like this is started, you never envisage yourself still doing this daily task more than three years later, but that’s what has happened here. I originally started the whole Series because someone mentioned to me that the 30% Capacity Factor figure I was using as the long term average for wind generation was way too low. At the time this was mentioned to me, I had been doing all these Posts since March of 2008, so it was around ten and a half to eleven years I had been writing on this and related subjects, (and now that is fourteen and a half years) and even though I had a good handle on it, that figure I was using of 30% was basically anecdotal in nature, (and that was the word used when it it was mentioned to me by the person who told me it was way too low) and, even though I had been keeping an eye on it for all those years, to me, that was a relatively accurate figure. However, I could not point to any exact figure as proof for my use of that percentage figure. So, the genesis of these Posts was to have definitive proof of that Capacity Factor figure, once and for all.

Why is Capacity Factor so important

This is perhaps the most critical point when it comes to Wind Power. EVERY time any wind plant is mentioned, the only thing quoted is the Nameplate, the total Capacity of the plant, and the intent of giving that Nameplate is that people might then believe that the plant delivers that total power all the time it is in operation. That is not the case. Wind generation, the power actually delivered to the grid for consumption, is dependent on the wind, and that is variable at best. That total Nameplate can only be delivered (and this only happens on the rarest of occasions, if any occasions at all) if the wind is blowing at the optimal levels for the blades out the front to turn, driving the generator inside the Nacelle, not just for each individual turbine/tower but for the wind plant as a whole, and by extrapolation, the whole fleet of wind plants across the whole area of the Continent. Capacity Factor is the relationship between the generated power and the Nameplate.  So, where I use the figure of 30% for the Capacity Factor for wind generation what that means is that the generated power is only the equivalent of 30% of the Nameplate. So here we have the total Nameplate for all wind across Australia of 9854MW. (as at September 2022) The total generated power is only the equivalent of 2956MW.

See the point here?

Very few people actually know that, because ALL that is ever stated is that much larger Nameplate total. You may think I might be cherry picking here to make wind generation look somehow worse than it actually is, but consider the Capacity Factor (CF) percentages for the major generators of power. Nuclear Power has an operational CF of between 92% and 95%. (U.S. data) Coal fired power is between 65% and 75%, and in China the new tech USC coal fired plants are operating at around 85% to 90% currently. Minor contributors like Industrial Solar Power Plants are operating at a CF between 18% and 22%, and rooftop solar power is operating at a CF between 12% and 15%, so when I quote that Wind generation CF at 30%, that is not cherry picking at all. Compare just one State here in Australia, Queensland’s total coal fired power (from just 8 power plants and 23 Units in all) and compare that total Australian wind generation with just Queensland’s coal fired power generation. In Queensland, coal fired power has a total operational Nameplate currently of 7729MW, so in fact, 22% LOWER than the total Nameplate for all wind power in Australia. The total power delivered by wind generation for all Australia is 25,268GWH for the last full year to this date. In Queensland, the power delivered by coal fired power was 44,458GWH. So, while wind has a 22% HIGHER Nameplate, it delivered a whopping 44% LESS power than coal fired power.

THAT is why Capacity Factor is so important.

The incorrect use of Nameplate is ‘artfully’ used to distract from the point that wind generation fails to deliver power on anything but an intermittent nature.

*****

I had done the Series on the Base Load for one full year, and then, after that, the series on ALL power generation across this area for around fifteen Months. That second Series on ALL power generation included data for all that time for every source of power generation, so I already had an existing store of a year’s worth of data for wind generation, and that gave me a starting point of that existing full year’s worth of data, so I had a good start already done. All I needed to do was to transcribe it across manually, and then begin adding just the Wind generation data on that daily basis. This, as you might imagine, was comprehensively less time on a daily basis to collect, collate, and then Post the data, but it still involved manual calculations from the data at the three websites involved here, manually writing it in a large notebook specifically dedicated to all this, and then transferring it all into the daily Post, and then isolating the images with just the Load curves for wind generation, and making the images sized to fit best at our site here, and then calculating the daily totals, and at the end of the week, then doing the same for the weekly totals, and both long term averages for that Capacity Factor figure.

I wrote above that the figure I was using was supposedly ‘anecdotal’ in nature. Within a quite short time frame of collating together the wind data I already had, that figure of 30% was not only borne out as perhaps ‘in the ballpark’, it was accurate, as it quite quickly settled down to that exact number of 30%, something I suspected would prove true, as I said I had been watching those numbers for more than ten years already. What has happened over the intervening four years worth of daily, and weekly data is that the highest it has been is 31.4%, and the lowest it has been is 27.8%. For almost three years it was stuck at 29%, and only in the last year, has it rolled back above 30%, and is currently sitting at 30.4%. Right from the start of what was the second year, I made a conscious decision to show BOTH of the long term averages for Capacity Factor, one for the most recent 52 weeks, the yearly CF, and the longer term CF for what is now four full years. That decision proved quite fortuitous really. Not long after starting this most recent year’s data, it was mentioned to me that ….. “Yeah, well maybe that figure you have might be correct at that suspect figure of 30%, (still not willing to accept that low figure) but you have to realise that these are old tech wind turbines, and as the much newer ones are added, then they are infinitely better, so that Capacity Factor will begin to rise considerably. “Old tech??” Wind turbines here in Australia have only been here around for 15 years, and most of those within the most recent five to ten years, and while the technology may have improved, that improvement is only small really, and not easily discernible. However, as it was, I had the perfect response really, as besides the most recent 52 week CF figure, that longer term one now covers four complete years. In that time, there have been many many additions to the wind generation ‘fleet’ here in Australia, and the Nameplate has risen from 5301MW when I started to what is now a total Nameplate of 9854MW, so there has been a rise of 4553MW, an increase in total Nameplate of 86%, so effectively, almost doubling the total Nameplate.

Now despite what was mentioned to me that as new wind is added, then that CF will rise, (or, as was mentioned to me, rise ….. considerably) not only has it not risen considerably, but it has stayed remarkably close to what it has always been. The gap between the two is this. Long Term CF for FOUR YEARS is 30.38%, and for the most recent year (as the Nameplate increases with the addition of each and every new Wind Plant) it is 30.40%, so it has only improved by that two hundredths of one percent, so they are virtually the same really.

Okay, so the task of this data collection, calculations, and recording started becoming a little more difficult as I have aged, and now I find that perhaps I should be easing back a little. However, it seems such a shame to stop now with so much data, also thinking that if it was mentioned to me later that the figures are somewhat spurious, now being data that could be perceived as being old. This way, I can still keep the data current, and cut back on the time involved in doing the whole thing on that daily basis. I still have to do the manual collection, and calculation of data on a daily basis, but doing it this new way halves the time on doing the Posts as I used to do them. Actually, this in fact might be an improvement, as readers can now see the full data for all seven days in the one place, so there was a somewhat ‘lucky’ side to all this.

*****

Okay then, here’s the table for the last week of wind generation, and this is how it will appear at each new Post.

Current Wind Nameplate Capacity – 9854MW

Day
And
Date
Total
Generated
Power
Average
Power
Capacity
Factor (%)
Power
To
Grid (%)

Monday

19Sep2022

61.05GWH 2544MW 25.82% 10.5%

Tuesday

20Sep2022

91.17GWH 3799MW 38.55% 16.2%

Wednesday

21Sep2022

82.51GWH 3438MW 34.89% 14.9%

Thursday

22Sep2022

26.88GWH 1120MW 11.37% 5.0%

Friday

23Sep2022

38.13GWH 1589MW 16.13% 7.0%

Saturday

24Sep2022

47.61GWH 1984MW 20.13% 9.1%

Sunday

25Sep2022

31.12GWH 1297MW 13.16% 6.0%

This

Week

378.47GWH 2253MW 22.86% 9.9%

Long Term Capacity Factor – 52 weeks – 30.40%

Long Term Capacity Factor – 208 Weeks -30.38%

Okay, an explanation of the table contents. The first column is the total power generated across the full 24 hour day, and is expressed in GWH. (GigaWattHours and ONE GWH is the same as 1,000MWH) The second column is the average power for the day, and that is the GWH total divided by 24 (hours in a day) and then multiplied by 1000. (to convert to MW, MegaWatts) The third column is the Capacity Factor for that day, the average power number for the day (in MW) divided by the current total Nameplate, and multiplied by 100 to give a percentage. The fourth column is the total power delivered to the grid for the day, expressed as a percentage of that total consumed power by the Grid for that day.

For This Week, that’s the total power, the seven day average for the week, the seven day average CF for the week, and the seven day average power delivered to the Grid for that week.

For the Long Term CF, the first one is the most recent 52 weeks. Here, I take away the corresponding week of a year ago from that rolling total, and then add this week’s average CF, and then divide by 52. The long term CF is this weeks average CF added to the overall rolling total, and divided by the total number of weeks.

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.

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