Letter to the Editor: The effectiveness of offshore wind

DEAR News Of The Area,

Recently, a retired engineer with 45 years of experience in power generation indicated the difficulty and likely cost of transitioning to renewables.

He used the example of replacing the 2GW generating capacity of the retired Liddell Power Plant near Muswellbrook with wind turbines.

This is a difficult comparison because Liddell operated 24/7 whereas wind turbines have a variable output from zero to 100 percent, which is typically evaluated over a twelve month period.

Between December 2022 and December 2023, the wind farms supplying Eastern Australia delivered a combined average of about one third of their installed capacity.

Offshore wind farms generally achieve a higher annual average of about half their installed capacity.

So a 5GW wind farm complex off Port Stephens should be expected to supply an average of about 2.5 GW per hour over a twelve month period.

This could replace the Liddell plant except for those periods of insufficient wind.

The challenge is to somehow store enough energy to cover the shortfall.

Stephen Low,

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