Wind power should not be relied on to guarantee electricity supply during hot days, experts say.
Wind turbines operate at less than three per cent of their total generation in hot weather because limits to prevent overheating and a lack of wind can stifle their output when temperatures soar past 35C.
The State Government and the Australian Energy Market Operator yesterday revealed there would be enough electricity in SA today to meet demand and loadshedding and blackouts would not occur from a lack of power. However, AEMO statistics show the amount of electricity generated by wind turbines in hot weather falls to a bare minimum.
“The reduction in wind generation during peak periods, or at the hottest times of the day, is partially attributed to limits placed on some turbines at high temperatures to prevent overheating,” an AEMO spokeswoman said.
“During the top 10 per cent of summer peak demand periods, approximately three per cent of total wind generation-installed capacity contributed to demand.”
Energy Users Association of Australia executive director Roman Domanski said wind power was intermittent and difficult to rely on and other power sources must be built to provide householders and businesses with guaranteed summer supplies. “Wind does not work on hot days and there’s been incidents,” he said. “That obviously means we’re going to have to build more generation.”
A spokeswoman for Pacific Hydro, which operates the Clements Gap wind farm near Port Pirie, said its turbines had not shut down in the past but admitted there was a risk. “Like all machinery, it has a preferred operating temperature,” she said. “They could shut down but it depends how hot it is within the machinery, not the outside temperature.”
Energy Minister Patrick Conlon said there was “plenty of energy in reserve” to meet electricity demand today and only a small amount of wind was factored into calculations.
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