Electricity is in demand since the day it came into research projects of great Scientists. Many Scientists have done work on electricity but when work of Benjamin Franklin came in front of the world, the inventions of electrical products were started. The demand for electricity is increasing every single day due to the increase in electrical equipments and usage of it by people. The Generation, Transmission and Distribution of electricity have been an evergreen topic for research. The increase in the generation of electricity through the non renewable sources has damaged the environment and it has to be changed completely towards the renewable energy resources. One of my reasons for grabbing this topic was to research more on the renewable energy resources as the environment and climate all over the world is becoming worse every day. The energy crisis in Australia as well as few other countries got me interested while selecting the wind energy as an alternative source. The source for electricity in Australia is from renewable as well as non renewable sources. All the people in Australia are aware of the Energy Crisis in Australia which needs to be solved. Solar Energy and Wind Energy are the Alternative Source which can finish the energy crisis in the coming future. The research to solve this problem is On in different territories of Australia which may take time. Different researchers and scientists have given different solutions but the most beneficial and affective solutions are moving towards the renewable energy sources and stop the generation of electricity from the non renewable energy sources. To solve the energy crisis and all the damage that has been done to the environment in the past decade, we have to switch to solar energy as the major source and the wind energy as a primary and alternative source.
Some of the Major and minor objectives of this research are discussed in points below:
- To achieve awareness among people about the advantages and disadvantages of the use of renewable and non renewable energy sources for the production of electricity.
- To achieve an eco-friendly electricity generation units.
- To solve the energy crisis in Australia and other countries.
- To gain advantage using the reducing price of the renewable energy production costs.
- To reduce the emission of Greenhouse gases through non renewable sources, this is changing the weather conditions in environment.
“If we don’t stop now, then it will be too late.”
“If we act now, then we can stop it now.”
The production of electricity is from non renewable energy sources since a decade. It has been damaging the environment since then and people were not aware of it. This is to the reference of my first statement, where I said we have to stop now. It is already too late and we have seen the massive damages that are made to the environment in terms of climate or ozone layer or melting of glaciers, etc. The ozone layer has been damaged due to the release of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The greenhouse gases are released by various human activities. Out of many reasons, one of the major reasons is the generation of electricity through the non renewable energy sources. The gases released during the generation are harmful to the atmosphere and the ozone layer. The Climate is changing all over the world, which can be seen and felt over the years. The temperature is rising by few degrees every few years. The Ice Glaciers are melting in many regions and rise in the sea level can be seen. In recent years, the UNFCCC has conducted the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Climate change in terms of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. After years of damage to the environment, at least now if we start avoiding these mistakes and start acting, we can get better results in future. The Generation of electricity should be moved from non renewable sources to the renewable sources completely such as solar energy and Wind energy.
Benefits of Renewable Energy Sources
The second statement is referred to the Energy Crisis being faced in Australia. Different reasons are given for the energy crisis in Australia and some of the reasons are shutting down of the power stations in different regions. The improper management of shifting the production of electricity from non renewable to renewable is the other reason. If proper management is done and the Solar energy is made as the major source and the wind energy as the primary source of energy then this energy crisis can be solved.
Australia is dependent on the renewable as well as non renewable energy sources for the generation of electricity. Previously, the generation of electricity was mainly from the non renewable energy sources and the use of natural and renewable sources has increased over the years. The Australian government has now aimed of producing the electrical energy around 20% from the renewable energy sources by the year 2020. As we have many sources in Non renewable energy sources, the main source for electrical energy is coal in Australia. Other non renewable sources in Australia are natural gas, fossil fuels and oil. In case of the renewable energy sources, hydro power is at first which constitutes around 19% of the total electricity produced in Australia. The other renewable sources in Australia are Wind, Bio and Solar. The production of electrical energy is slowly being diverted to the renewable sources from the non renewable sources all over the world. The government in different territories in Australia have set different target for production of electricity from the renewable sources. The target set for New South Wales is 20% and for Victoria, its 25% of the total energy produced by the year 2020. To achieve this target Hydro, Solar and Wind power plants are being installed in different territories. As per the article in Sydney Morning Herald, the Prime Minister is about to announce a $2 billion expansion project for the Hydro energy. This scheme will increase the production of electricity in Australia around 50% and the energy crisis running in Australia will be solved to a high extent. All the articles and Information regarding the reduction of emission of harmful gases and the energy crisis are to be collected through the news papers and Australian government websites. The exact reason for the crisis is to be determined and the reason for the climate and environment change is already known. We have to work and act on this to see improvement in the near future.
- Collection of Information regarding the Installation of Wind Power Plants. All the information such as the amount of power that is being generated and the amount of power that can be generated more by installing more power plants in different regions. Inspection of places where the wind is high for the power plants to be installed. Storage of energy that is being generated at these power plants.
- Reduction of amount of harmful gases that are disturbing and damaging the ozone layer. As the combustion of coal and fossil fuels is reduced the emission of gases will also be reduced.
- Reduction of cost of electricity which can be achieved from the renewable sources such as Hydro, solar and wind.
- Clean and Green Energy can be achieved from the renewable sources.
Electricity has become one of the basic human wants in the current society. The demand for electricity by the consumers is increasing on a daily basis due to the increase in the number of electrical devices and also the rise in the number of people who are potential consumers of electricity. The distribution, transmission, and generation of electricity have been researched on by numerous researchers. The rise in the electricity generation by sources that are non-renewable has degraded the environment resulting to the government resolving to the use of renewable energy sources for the generation of electricity. The major reason for the selection of this research topic of the renewable energy sources is due to the worsening of the climatic conditions as well as the global environment without serious considerations being taken regarding the alternative sources of electricity.
There is currently a crisis in the supply of sufficient and reliable electric energy in Australia and also other countries. In order to generate sufficient electricity to satisfy the demand within the country, there is need of increasing the generation but majorly focusing on the renewable sources with are environmentally friendly. The selected renewable energy option for this research is the wind energy source as an alternative source of electricity generation in Australia. There have been numerous research done regarding the renewable sources of energy in Australia, however, the most effective and beneficial solutions is to move towards the renewable energy sources and stop electricity generation from non-renewable sources of energy. The energy crisis in the country can be solved by switching to solar energy source as the primary source of energy and the wind energy source as an alternative energy source (APAIS, 2009).
The major objective of this research paper is to evaluate the wind energy as an alternative source of energy in Australia. The other objectives of this research include:
- To create awareness among people regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the use of renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy in the generation of electricity.
- To attain an eco-friendly electricity generation units
- To solve the energy crisis in Australia and other countries
- To gain advantage using the price reduction of renewable energy production cost
- To reduce the emission of greenhouse gases through nonrenewable energy sources that are currently changing the environmental weather conditions(Acton, 2013).
Australia energy consumption and production majorly depends on the fossil fuels and the country is one of the largest contributors to emission of carbon dioxide in the whole world. The crude oil and coal have dominated the energy market of the country in the past decade. The renewable sources only make up to 2% of the total primary production of energy whereas coal dominated the production of energy with 61% of the total generation and crude oil accounted for only 6% of the total energy generated between the period of 2009 and 2010 (Ahmed, 2011). The figure below shows the production and consumption of energy-mix in the country:
Benefits of Renewable Energy Sources
Figure 1: Production and consumption of energy-mix in Australia (Apostol, 2016)
The composition of consumed energy in the country is different from the generated energy since more than to thirds of the energy generated in the country is exported. The country has greatly established the use of wind energy and hydroelectric energy sources. However, the potential of other renewable energy sources such as geothermal, tidal, wave, and solar have been proved high since their technologies are still not well established. In case the economic and technological issues are overcome, then these energy sources may be used as alternative source of electricity to assist the country minimize the emissions of greenhouse gases (Baldick, 2017). The shift towards renewable energy sources will require the expansion of infrastructure since majority of the energy is consumed on the Australian east coast as shown in the figure below:
Figure 2: Energy sources distribution in Australia (Apostol, 2016)
A huge part of the renewable energy generation is based on the hydroelectric energy source. However, the hydroelectric capacity in the country is not fully deployed since the shortage of ground water in the country is a primary constraint for further establishment. The growth of in wind power energy source is rapidly increasing in numerous geographical locations within the country, this is the major reason for selection of wind energy as an alternative energy source for Australia. From the figure above, it is clear that the wind power source has potential along the southern coast and also the inland regions. Solar energy source has also potential in the country since the radiation in majority of the state are considered among the highest level of radiation globally (Boxwell, 2010).
Huge plants of solar power are still not fully developed and the energy sources are currently used by the residential small-scale and off-grid installations. Tidal and wave energy sources are still under the stage of research but are believed to the future energy sources for the production of energy. Australia is one of the largest energy consumers globally and is ranked in the 8th position in the worlds largest energy consumers. The rate of growth in energy consumption has however slowed gradually in the past decade. This decline in the amount of energy consumed in the country can be explained by the economic crises and oil price shocks during the past few years. The demand for energy is expected to continue increasing and the future distribution of these energy sources will be determined by numerous factors such as energy price and government policies (Brewer, 2013).
Energy Crisis in Australia
Global warming and climate change are blamed for the increased number of natural disasters, rising of sea levels, and extinction of species. These two factors have also impacted the global economy negatively since it will be expensive to minimize the costs of global warming causes in the future. In Australia, the changes in climatic conditions will lead to more frequent dry seasons in some sections of the country. Since the dry seasons are already a major problem in the country, the future may be devastating for these regions as the risk for huge bushfires will be high. The climate change will also result in the risk of tropical cyclones. The general weather will be more extreme and difficult to predict (Brown, 2015).
Figure 3: Emission of green gas in every sector in Australia (Chambers, 2010)
There have been numerous steps put in place to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide such as in 2012, there was the establishment of the carbon tax and carbon price so as to make it more practical for the companies to minimize their emission of carbon dioxide. The average price of electricity has increased after the implementation of the carbon price. The increased price is anticipated to benefit the establishment of energy generation from renewable energy sources (Chambers, 2011). The government has also established the Renewable Energy Target which denotes that 20% of the generated electricity should come from renewable energy sources by 2020. The aim of this initiative is to speed up the transition towards a cleaner supply of electricity within the country. The energy sector accounts for a huge part of the total emission of greenhouse gases in the country and also the emission from the generation of electricity has continuously increased at a faster rate compared to other sectors in the country as shown in figure 3 above (Chandra, 2009).
The production of electricity has normally been through non-renewable sources from the past decade. The non-renewable sources are known for their environmental degradation specifically in terms of melting of glaciers, depletion of ozone layer, or change in the climatic conditions. There has been depletion of the ozone layer as a result of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which is released during the generation of electricity by nonrenewable sources of energy. There are changes in the climatic condition in the whole world and the prediction of the environmental condition has always been characterized by inaccuracies (Council, 2009). The nonrenewable source can be defined as those sources that do not renew themselves as a satisfactory rate for sustainable economic extraction. Some of the non-renewable sources of energy in Australia include:
Wind Energy as an Alternative Source
Uranium: Australia has more than a third of the total world economy of uranium resources. The major deposits of Uranium are in Western Australia, Northern Territory, and South Australia. The production of Uranium in Australia is majorly for the purposes of exportation.
Crude Oil: The major sources of crude oil in Australia is located in Gippsland and Carnarvon. It takes numerous years for these resources to form naturally and cannot be replaced after extraction. These sources of carbon are considered to be nonrenewable and their rate of replenishment or formation on the floor of the seal is not known.
Gas: There are significant sources of gas in Australia which are majorly located in the basins of Bonaparte, Browse, and Carnarvon. Just like other hydrocarbons, the gas resources are considered to be nonrenewable and their rate of replenishment or formation on the floor of the seal is not known (Devine, 2011).
Coal: Coal is combustible brownish-black or black sedimentary rock normally occurring in the strata in veins or layers known as coal seams or coal bed. Coal is generally used as a source of energy through burning it to produce heat and electricity. The most significant source of black coal is located in the Sydney bans and Bowen-Surat. Some of the advantages of these non-renewable energy sources include the creation of jobs, cost-effective, profitable, and also there is a generation of the high amount of energy (Diesendorf, 2011).
Figure 4: Electricity generation from renewable energy sources in Australia (Droege, 2012)
The burning of natural gas, oil and coal releases huge quantities of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which are the major contributing factors to global warming. This gas reacts with other compounds in the environment resulting in the acidity of oceans, depletion of ozone layer, and saturation of carbon. These gases also cause greenhouse effect by the creation of mantle of rich air in the atmosphere, these compounds trap the rays of the sun and make the atmosphere around the earth to be warmer. These energy sources also contribute to acid rain especially when the fossil fuels are burnt to result to release of sulfur oxides which causes rain to become acidic. The acid rains a dangerous to the environment and also corrodes the metallic parts of buildings (Edenhofer, 2011).
The nonrenewable source of energy also dangerous to the health of human beings since they emit carbon monoxide which can be dangerous to human beings. These gases cause respiratory problems when inhaled or even death. These energy sources are also quite dirty and leave dirt and soot on furnishing in homes. When these energy sources are used in factories, they release soot and other substances into the air which coats the pavements and buildings and make these parts of construction to look grimy and dirty. The non-renewable energy sources are also not viable for a future generation since humans cannot base their lives entirely on these sources forever since they will eventually run out (Edenhofer, 2011).
Renewable energy is produced by the generation of electricity using renewable sources such as geothermal, hydro, solar, and wind. Of all the sources of renewable energy in Australia, 0.002% of the energy is generated by geothermal, 0.147% of the energy is generated by solar PV, 8.1% of the energy is generated by the bioenergy, 26% of the energy is generated by wind, and 53% of the energy is generated by the hydroelectricity. These renewable energies in Australia are discussed below:
Geothermal Energy: The geothermal energy produces energy by the use of molten core which is composed of very high-temperature liquid in a rock. This geothermal heat circulating inside the rock is transferred to the water reservoirs located underground which can then be used to produce electricity. There have been explorations of geothermal wells in Australia so as to test the presence of high-temperature geothermal activities. It has been proven that Australia has adequate geothermal energy which has the ability to supply electricity for approximately 450 years. South Australia is expected to dominate in the sector of geothermal energy production since 12 companies have already applied for exploration of geothermal energy in the region (Ehrlich, 2013).
Solar Energy Source: The solar energy is produced when energy from the sunlight is directed to the photovoltaic cells. These cells convert light into electric current by the use of the photovoltaic effect. The solar energy is also used for the purposes of heating water in addition to its role in the generation of electric energy through the photovoltaic effect. There is a low generation of electricity by the use of solar power in Australia due to the high cost of per kW compared to the other sources of power. There has been improved innovation of the technology of PV by the use of building integrated PV where the PV cells function as structural and architectural functions and incorporating a system of concentration which focuses the solar energy to a smaller section of cells with high efficiency (Fox, 2009).
Australia's Energy Consumption and Production
Hydroelectric Power: Hydroelectric power is produced by hydropower acquired from conventional dams, pumped storage, run of the river or tide. The power extracted from the water depends on the height between the outflow of water and the source and also the volume of water. The cost of hydroelectric energy source is relatively low, making it a competitive renewable energy source. In Australia, the Snowy Mountains Scheme which was established in 1974 is the major hydroelectric energy source and is composed of 7 major power stations and 16 major dams and produces a total of 3800MW generation capacity (Hansen, 2010).
Wind Power: This is the proposed alternative source of energy in Australia for this research paper. Wind energy source uses the flow of air through the turbines to the electric generators of mechanical power wind farms are composed of numerous individual wind turbines which are joined to the network of electric power transmission. Onshore wind an electric power source that is cheaper and also very competitive compared with other nonrenewable energy sources such as gas and coal plants. Offshore winds are stronger and steadier compared to the onshore, however, the maintenance and construction of the offshore wins are higher. In Australia, wind farms generate 30% of the clean energy of the country which has a total of 71 wind farms (Healey, 2013).
One of the major advantages of the renewable sources of energy is that they are renewable sources. This denotes that they do not get depleted over a given duration and hence there is no possibility of running out. Fossil energy sources can easily get depleted since they are considered limited resources and there are possibilities that these fuels will run out in future. These energy sources are also eco-friendly since they are characterized by zero or low carbon emission and greenhouse effects (Hepburn, 2015). Non-renewable sources emit carbon monoxide and also greenhouse gases which are hugely responsible for the degradation of quality or air, climatic change, and global warming. The wind and solar power are known to be environmentally friendly since they do not emit toxic gases to the environment. The use of these renewable energy sources can drastically reduce the dependence on fossil fuels as an energy source (Hossain, 2014).
The renewable sources of energy are also reliable energy sources, unlike fossil fuel whose use has increased sharply due to over-reliance on these energy sources leading to a spike in energy prices, political instabilities, trade dispute, and negative effects of the energy policies of the nation. The renewable energy sources are largely distributed over diverse geographical locations where there are low interruptions during electricity generation. These renewable energy sources have also resulted in the creation of jobs in the world economies compared to the fossil fuels sources which are normally capital intensive and mechanized hence requiring only a small number of employees for maintenance (Hossain, 2014).
Renewable Energy Sources in Australia
Apart from the jobs created directly in the sector of renewable energy sources, the growth in clean energy has also resulted in positive ripple effect to the economy. This is because the industries in the supply chain of renewable energy sources benefit from increased business income and increase household income. These energy sources have also resulted in stable energy prices since by providing affordable electricity across the nation can assist in stabilization of energy prices in the future. Despite the facilities of renewable energy sources need upfront investment during construction, these energy sources can operate at low cost resulting instability in prices of energy after a certain duration (IBP, 2015).
One if the major shortcoming of renewable energy sources is they lack reliability in supply. These energy sources normally rely on the weather for their source of power. Solar energy source require sunshine and clear skies to gather heat and electricity generated, wind turbines need wind its blades to turn, and hydro generators require rain to fill the dams so as to produce water that is used in turning the blades coupled with the generators which produce electricity. In case these natural resources are not available, there will be no capacity of these energy sources to produce energy. This can be inconsistent and unpredictable (Jennings, 2009).
Numerous types of the renewable energy sources must be collected at a specific point, this means that there is need of distribution network from this location of generation to the final consumers. In most cases, setting up of these distribution networks require a huge quantity fossil fuels which can take the entire generation to neutralize with the quantity of energy produced by the particular energy source. This commercial viability of the renewable sources is brought about by the fact that the renewable sources of energy are location-specific and their potential is only limited to a specific location (Johansson, 2012).
These renewable energy sources also require storage capabilities so that they can be any time and day. When using these energy sources, storage in businesses or homes, storage and backup resources must be incorporated into the generation of power. The speed of wind is always inconsistent and there are times when the wind supply is high such that the amount of energy generated is more than the demanded, this surplus energy can be stored and used when the speed of wind is low to sufficiently generate the required amount of energy. The same also happens in solar energy source since during snow seasons or at night, there is no supply of sunlight to be used by the solar panels to generate electricity. The major challenge in the implementation of these back-up or storage resources, there will be a push in the cost of a new renewable energy source beyond what can be afforded by many individuals (Jones, 2014).
Potential of Wind Energy in Australia
Pollution is also produced by some of the renewable energy sources since energy sources such as biomass still burn waste products and release harmful gasses into the atmosphere. These gases include methane and carbon which are known as greenhouse gases. The facilities and technologies that are used during the construction of the renewable energy sources require fossil fuels and also during distribution and transportation networks. In many cases, it is the renewable energy sources that rely on the non-renewable sources, whereas the fossil fuels do not depend on the renewable energy sources. Some of the types of renewable energy sources require a massive space for installation compared to others. The current solar energy source needs acres of space to produce megawatts of energy (Kharchenko, 2018).
Australia depends on both renewable and nonrenewable energy sources for the electricity generation. In the past, the electricity generation was majorly from nonrenewable sources of energy, however, the use of renewable and natural energy sources has increased over the years. The country has greatly established the use of wind energy and hydroelectric energy sources. However, the potential of other sources of renewable energy such as tidal, geothermal, wave, and solar have been proved high since their technologies are still not well established. In case the economic and technological issues are overcome, then these energy sources may be used as alternative source of electricity to assist the country to minimize the emissions of greenhouse gases (Lund, 2014).
The growth of in power energy source is rapidly increasing in numerous geographical locations within the country, this is the major reason for selection of wind energy as an alternative energy source for Australia and not any other renewable energy source such as hydroelectricity or solar power energy sources. The government in different territories in the country has set a diverse target for the electricity generation from renewable sources. The expected target for the electricity generation for Victoria is as 25% and for New South Wales is at 20% of the total energy generated by the year 2020 (Lyster, 2011). The setting of targets in different territories has led to the installation of wind, solar, and hydropower plants in different territories. Wind energy source is a rapidly expanding mode of renewable energy generation in Australia with an average yearly installed capacity growth rate of 35% over the last 5 years up to 2011. There were 4455 MW of installed capacity and another 18823 megawatts committed or proposed capacity as at December 2017. The wind farms in Australia generates an average of 30 to 35% of the capacity factor which makes wind energy source an attractive alternative energy source (Mahmud, 2012).
The wind turbines are devices that are involved in the conversion of kinetic energy of the wind into electrical power. The outcome of over decades of modern engineering and windmill development, the present wind turbines are made in a wide range of horizontal axis and vertical axis types. The smaller turbines can be applied in auxiliary power as battery charging. Slightly greater turbines can be applied in domestic power supply for making small contributions to the domestic use. Arrays of huge turbines which are also known as wind farms have become a significant renewable energy source in the country as part of the strategy to minimize the reliance of fossil fuels (Michael, 2010). The figure below shows the components of a typical wind turbine:
Figure 5: Schematics of a typical wind turbine (Michalena, 2013)
The rotor blades: These are fundamentally the turbine system sails and acts as obstructions to the wind the flow of win. When the blades are forced to move by the wind, majority of its energy is transferred to the rotor. The attack angle with respect to the direction of the wind and rotor’s shape of the rotor blade determines the functionality of the turbines. The rotor blades possess a distinct curved figure just like the airfoil wings of the plane such that when there is blowing of wind past a plane, the wings of the plane force them up with a force known as lift (Morgan, 2010). Similarly, when there is blowing of wind past the blades, the blades spin them around and the kinetic energy is lost by the wind while the kinetic energy is gained by the turbine. The quantity of energy that the turbine produces is proportional to the area swept by the rotating rotor blades. Numerous wind turbines have plastic blades reinforced with three glass and their mechanical design and properties determine the beneficial service life of the blades (Morgan, 2009).
Generator: The generator uses the principles of electromagnetic induction to generate electrical voltage. This generator is coupled to the main support frame and attached to the high-speed terminal of the transmission shaft. This voltage which is the difference in pressure is the force that moves electrical current or electricity from the point of production to another point. Generally, a simple generator is composed of a magnet and a conductor which is basically a coiled wire. Inside the generator, the shaft is coupled with permanent magnets assembly that surrounds the wire coil. During the spinning of the shaft by the rotor, the shaft spins the magnetic assembly, producing a voltage in the wire coil. The voltage drives electricity out through power lines for the purposes of distribution to the consumers (Moseley, 2014).
Shaft: The shaft of the wind turbine is coupled to the centre of the rotor. During the spinning of the rotor, the shaft concurrently spins. Through this, the rotor conveys to the shaft its rotational and mechanical energy, which gets into an electrical generator on the other terminal (Nelson, 2011).
Gearbox: This device is involved in the conversion of relatively slow rotation of the spinning blades into higher velocity motion resulting in high rate of shaft rotation so as to power the electricity generator. This is one of the technologies that have been incorporated in the wind energy sources so as to ensure sufficient harvest of kinetic energy in the wind even when there is low wind speed at that moment (Nelson, 2013).
Inverter: This device is involved in the conversion of direct current electricity to the conventional household alternating current electricity or even supply the excess electricity generated to the main grid (Nelson, 2013).
Some of the factors that affect the output of wind power generated include rotor area, physical effects of obstacles such as mountains, wind velocity, air density, earth rotation, the cooling effect of the polar ice caps and oceans, the heat from the sun, temperature gradient between sea and land. The win is the first factor that affects the output of the generated power since more wind speed results in greater amount of power that will be generated by the wind turbines. The rotor area is the area swept by the blades of the wind turbines. When the area of the blades is doubled, then the output power of the wind turbines will also be doubled (Philander, 2012).
Wind speed is also another significant factor that affects the output power generated by the wind turbines. In case the speed of the wind is doubled, the generated power becomes eight times greater. Different regions have different speeds of wind. The more the wind speed and the force generated, the more the amount of power generated by the turbines. The air density also affects the amount of power generated by the wind turbines. The wind power is directly proportional to the density of air. This is the reason why the majority of the wind farms are situated near or in the oceans or seas. At higher altitudes, there is a significant decrease in the air density, hence the wind farms cannot be made near mountains or any other obstacles such as tall constructions (Plunkett, 2009).
The process of electricity generation by a wind turbine begins when the wind containing kinetic energy blows past the rotor blades of the turbine. The rotor rotates around, acquiring extra kinetic energy from the wind, and rotating the drive shaft at the center that supports them. In the turbine, the gearbox converts the low-velocity rotation of the drive shaft which may be approximately 20 rpm into high-velocity rotation which may be approximately 1500 rpm. This velocity is sufficient to drive the efficiently drive the generator. The generator located behind the gearbox immediately takes the kinetic energy from the rotating drive shaft and transforms into electricity. The electrical energy generated by the generator streams through the cable running down inside of the turbine tower (Quaschning, 2009).
Wind energy source uses the flow of air through the turbines to the electric generators of mechanical power Win farms are composed of numerous individual wind turbines which are joined to the network of electric power transmission. Onshore wind an electric power source that is cheaper and also very competitive compared with other nonrenewable energy sources such as gas and coal plants. Offshore winds are stronger and steadier compared to the onshore, however, the maintenance and construction of the offshore wins are higher. In Australia, wind farms generate 30% of the clean energy of the country which has a total of 71 wind farms (Quaschning, 2010).
Figure 6: Wind energy generation in Australia (Quaschning, 2010)
Wind energy is rapidly expanding the type of renewable energy in Australia. The southern coastline lies in the forties with an average speed of wind of approximately 8 m/s at 50m beyond the ground surface. Some of the regions in Australia that have good wind resource include southern South Australia, western Victoria, New South Wales, and southwest of Western Australia. There were 4455 MW of installed capacity and another 18823 megawatts committed or proposed capacity as at December 2017. The wind farms in Australia generates an average of 30 to 35% of the capacity factor which makes wind energy source an attractive alternative energy source. The wind energy accounted for 30% of the total supply of renewable energy and 5.3% of the total electricity demand in Australia (Rahman, 2017).
By 2016, the total number of a wind farm in the country was 19 win farms and the majority of them possess turbines ranging between 1.5 MW and 3 MW. A total of 16 wind energy projects are either under construction or almost starting to operate by 2017 after reaching the financial closure and their combines installed capacity will be 1861 MW. South Australia has win energy capacity of 36.9% which accounts for the 40% of the electricity requirements in the entire country as of 2016. This was the first year in which the wind energy was the leading electricity source in the country. The wind energy attained 26% of the generated electricity in the country by the end of 2011which is almost equivalent to the power from coal-fired (Rashid, 2014). The figure below shows a typical generation of wind power, wind penetration, rooftop PV, and demand in South Australia:
Figure 7: Wind generation, wind penetration, rooftop PV, and demand in South Australia (Rasmussen, 2012).
Victoria has a substantial system of wind energy sources which contribute to 30% of the total energy capacity in the country. The government of Victoria announced the financial backing for new wind farms in August 2015 as part of a plan to promote renewable energy sources in the part of the country. This plan is expected to establish 100 MW of new energy from wind resource in the country and the investment is worth $200 million (Salameh, 2014).
There are an aggregate of 68 wind farms in Australia with 100kW operating capacity as at December 2013. There are an aggregate of 79 wind farms in Australia with 4327 MW operating capacity of 4327 MW at the end of 2016. The wind farms in Australia include Musselroe, Waubra, Portland, Collgar, Ararat, Lake Bonney, Hornsdale, Hallett, Snowtown, and Macarthur (Sayigh, 2018). These wind energy farms are explained below:
Macarthur Wind Farm: This is the largest wind farm in the entire country and is located in Victoria with a capacity of 420 MW. It is a 5500 ha site and based on the speeds of wind that are prevailing, the estimated generation is 1250 GWh annually. This energy source provides power for approximately 220000 homes after it began operating in 2013.
Snowtown Wind Farm: This wind farm is located on the Hummocks and Barunga ranges in the north of South Australia and has a capacity of 369 MW. The initial 47 turbines for this wind farm was completed in 2008 and extra 90 turbines started operating in 2014 (Science, 2011).
Hallett Wind Farm: This is a collective name of four wind farms in Hallet which are operated and owned by AGL Energy. These wind farms include Bluff Range, North Brown Hill, Hallet Hill, and Brown Hill. The total energy capacity generated in 351 MW.
Hornsdale Wind Farm: This wind farm is situated in Hornsdale in South Australia and is composed of 99 wind turbines with a capacity of generation of 351 MW. The wind farm is operated and owned by Neoen renewable energy company (Spellman, 2016).
Lake Bonney Wind Farm: This wind farm is situated in South Australia and was constructed in three different phases. The first phase was composed of 46 turbines having a total of 80.5 MW capacity and the second and last phase was composed of 53 turbines with an overall generation capacity of 159 MW.
Collgar Wind Farm: This wind farm is located in Western Australia approximately 25 km from Merredin. This farm has an overall of 111 wind turbines with the generation capacity of 206 MW. The far became fully operational on 2011 October with an average of 792000 MWh annually (Sørensen, 2010).
Portland Wind Farm: This is one of the largest wind farms situated in the coastal region of South-west Victoria and is composed of four different sites. This project was completed in 2011 and the generation capacity is 195MW.
Waubra Wind Farm: This win farm is situated in Ballarat in Victoria and is the fourth largest wind farm with a total of 128 wind turbines and generation capacity of 192 MW. This farm serves a total of 143000 households (Tasneem, 2011).
Musselroe Wind Farm: This wind farm is situated in Tasmania and is the operated and owned by Hydro Tasmania. The farm is composed of 56 wind turbines with 168 MW generation capacity. The total projects of wind farms in Australia for every state are as shown in the figure below:
Figure 8: Wind Energy installed capacity by Australian states (Tiwari, 2012)
The major wind power companies in Australia include Infigen Energy, Windlab, Wind Prospect, Trust Power, Suzlon, Hydro Tasmania, Pacific Hydro, and Meridian Energy.
The variations in the higher intermittency and production of wind energy generation make it difficult to incorporate conventional procedures of scheduling, planning, and operations of power systems. In the past decade, the installed capacity of wind energy has significantly expanded in Australia and is expected to rapidly grow in the coming years. This progressive integration scale has resulted in serious concerns regarding the impacts of such a wind power generation scale on the power system security, reliability, and stability. One of the major concerns regarding the high-level penetration of wind energy is their impact on the stability of the power system and is concerned with voltage stability and frequency regulation (Zachary Smith, 2009).
The active generation of power from the wind turbines is influenced by the design of wind turbine generator and also the wind flow while the reactive power demand is influenced by the devices of conversion. The wind farms are generally installed in rural regions and the reactive power have to be conveyed over long distances hence resulting in power loss. The wind farms joined to the grid results in redistribution of reactive power and power fluctuations which normally cause voltage unbalancing. This poses a serious threat to securing and grid stability. This can be prevented by the installation of Lithium-ion batteries. The battery storage is normally used in solar energy application for the purposes of storing the power generated by the wind turbines (Williams, 2010).
Figure 9: Lithium-ion battery system of wind power storage (Tiwari, 2012)
Lithium-ion batteries are batteries that are rechargeable in which Lithium ions move from the negative electrode to positive electrode during discharge and Lithium ions move from positive electrode to negative electrode during charging by the wind energy source. This battery is composed of two electrodes and an electrolyte which enables the movement of ions. The types of electrolytes that are commonly used in the Lithium-ion batteries include diethyl carbonate, dimethyl carbonate, and ethylene carbonate. During charging of the Lithium-ion batteries when there is a generation of electricity by the wind power source, there is an application of a higher voltage of similar polarities, compelling the charging current to flow within the battery to the negative terminal from the positive terminal (Valentine, 2014).
Environmental friendly: Wind power is one of the environmental friendly sources of energy currently available. After the installation and manufacture of the wind turbines, no or little pollution is also expected produced due to the wind turbine operations.
Sustainable and Renewable: Wind power is known to be both sustainable and renewable since the supply of wind in nature and cannot get depleted unlike non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels. This makes the win energy source to be an ideal source of energy for a sustainable supply of power (Tyagi, 2017).
Low Maintenance: Wind turbines are known to require low maintenance after their installation. A newly installed wind turbine is likely to last some duration before any maintenance work can be performed on it. However, after few years of operation, the turbines will require low maintenance especially on the moving parts of the turbines.
Job creation: The wind energy sector has really boomed after the introduction of wind turbines in the market. This has led to the creation of jobs in numerous wind farms and also for the management and maintenance operations of the wind turbines. There is also the creation of jobs for the wind turbine manufacturer, maintenance and installation of the wind turbines within the country (Twidell, 2015).
Free: The wind energy is a free source of energy unlike some other source of energy. There is no market for the demand and supply of wind energy. This resource is readily available for everyone and will never get depleted. This makes the wind power to be a viable option for generation of cheap electricity.
High Potential: The wind power has a high potential since it is both sustainable and renewable and it is a resource that is found in numerous places. Despite a certain quantity of wind energy is needed to make the installation of the wind turbine to be cost-effective, the technology is not limited to locations such as in the case of the geothermal power source (Tyagi, 2017).
Fluctuations: The wind energy is not a constant source of energy. Despite the wind energy being renewable and sustainable, the wind is not always blowing at a required wind speed. This can result in serious problems for developers of wind turbine who will normally spend substantial money and time determining whether or not a given site is appropriate for wind power generation. There is a need for a given location to have sufficient wind speed supply for the wind turbines to be efficient. It is for this reason why the wind turbines are positioned out at the sea or on top of hills where there are no obstacle to minimize the wind energy intensity (Trainer, 2010).
Noise Pollution: This is one of the most common shortcomings of the wind turbines. One wind turbine can produce a sound that can be heard from hundreds of meters away. When numerous wind turbines are combined, the audible effects may be much catastrophic. There are some steps that have been taken to ensure that the noise pollution from wind turbines are greatly reduced, such as relocation of people leaving around the site during the construction of a new wind farm (Tiwari, 2012).
Expensive Installation: The installation of wind turbines is known to be expensive despite the reduction in cost over time. The first step of installation involves site survey when entails erection of a sample turbine to determine the speeds of the wind over a given duration. The wind turbines will then need to be erected, transported, and manufactured on top of a foundation pre-constructed. All these steps contribute to the entire cost of installation of wind turbines (Hansen, 2010).
The rate of growth in energy consumption has however slowed gradually in the past decade. This decline in the amount of energy consumed in the country can be explained by the economic crises and oil price shocks during the past few years. The demand for energy is expected to continue increasing and the future distribution of these energy sources will be determined by numerous factors such as energy price and government policies. These are the major reasons why the wind energy source has a future prospect in the country. The growth of wind power energy source is rapidly increasing in numerous geographical locations within the country, this is the major reason for selection of wind energy as an alternative energy source for Australia and not any other renewable energy source such as hydroelectricity or solar power energy sources (Healey, 2013).
The government in different territories in the country has set a diverse target for the generation of electricity from wind energy to ensure its future prospects. The expected target for the electricity generation for Victoria is has been set to be at 25% and for New South Wales is set at 20% of the total energy generated by the year 2020. The setting of targets in different territories has led to the installation of wind, solar, and hydropower plants in different territories. Wind energy source is a rapidly expanding mode of renewable energy generation in Australia with an average yearly installed capacity growth rate of 35% over the last 5 years up to 2011. There were 4455 MW of installed capacity and another 18823 megawatts committed or proposed capacity as at December 2017. The wind farms in Australia generates an average of 30 to 35% of the capacity factor which makes wind energy source an attractive alternative energy source (Johansson, 2012).
The major objective of this research paper is to evaluate the wind energy as an alternative source of energy in Australia. The renewable sources only make up to 2% of the total primary production of energy whereas coal dominated the production of energy with 61% of the total generation and crude oil accounted for only 6% of the total energy generated between the period of 2009 and 2010. The growth of wind power energy source is rapidly increasing in numerous geographical locations within the country, this is the major reason for selection of wind energy as an alternative energy source for Australia. Wind energy source uses the flow of air through the turbines to the electric generators of mechanical power wind farms are composed of numerous individual wind turbines which are joined to the network of electric power transmission.
Some of the factors that affect the output of wind power generated include rotor area, physical effects of obstacles such as mountains, wind velocity, air density, earth rotation, the cooling effect of the polar ice caps and oceans, the heat from the sun, temperature gradient between sea and land. Some of the wind farms in Australia include Musselroe Wind Farm, Waubra Wind Farm, Portland Wind Farm, Collgar Wind Farm, Ararat Wind Farm, Lake Bonney Wind Farm, Hornsdale Wind Farm, Hallett Wind Farm, Snowtown Wind Farm, and Macarthur Wind Farm. Some of the advantages of the wind power source include renewable source, eco-friendly, low operation cost, exponential growth, huge potential, job creation, low maintenance, free resource, renewable and sustainable. Some of the disadvantages of the wind energy sources include fluctuations of wind resource, expensive installation, and noise pollution.
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