What is wind energy?
Wind energy is generated by converting wind currents into other forms of energy using wind turbines.
Winds are generated by complex mechanisms involving the rotation of the Earth, the heat capacity of the Sun, the cooling effect of the oceans and polar ice caps, temperature gradients between land and sea, and the physical effects of mountains and other obstacles.
Wind turbines convert the force of the wind into a torque (rotational force), which is then used to propel an electric generator to create electricity.
Wind energy power stations (known as wind farms) commonly aggregate the output of multiple wind turbines through a central connection point to the electricity grid. Across the world there are both on-shore (on land) and off-shore (out to sea) wind energy projects.
Wind energy generation is the fastest growing energy source throughout the world, increasing at an average rate of nearly 30 per cent per year in the years between 2000 and 2008.
How is wind energy used in Australia?
In Australia, wind energy is primarily used for electricity generation. Wind energy is also used to pump bore water, particularly in rural areas. There is good access to available onshore wind resources and there are currently no known plans to develop offshore wind projects in Australia.
Australia has some of the world’s best wind resources along its south-western, southern and south eastern margins. More isolated areas of the eastern margin also have excellent wind resources.
Wind energy is the fastest growing renewable energy source for electricity generation in Australia, although its current share of total Australian primary energy consumption is currently around 0.2 per cent.
For more information about the use of wind power in Australia, read the Australian Energy Resource Assessment (see Related documents).