South Australia recently had a “wild” windy weekend. While the severe weather led to power outages for some, there was a side benefit: wind turbines generated a huge amount of energy, providing over two-thirds of electricity needs over the weekend. On Monday, 83 percent of South Australia’s electricity came from wind.
According to Australia’s Clean Energy Council, an organization working to promote renewable energies and energy efficiency, South Australia has led the way when it comes to clean energy. Solar and wind are slowly catching up to fossil fuels there, and last weekend’s large renewable energy supply is a hopeful indicator of a clean energy future to come. Policy Manager Alicia Webb said there are 683 wind turbines in South Australia, which have led to $6 billion in investment and “hundreds” of jobs.
“Southern Australia…is in the midst of a remarkable transformation, with more than 40 percent of its power needs coming from renewable energy last year,” Webb said in a press release. “It is clear that modern economies can run on increasingly higher levels of renewable energy, and it is clear from South Australia’s example that other mainland states can go much further with no loss of reliability.”
While “volatile” gas prices have led to increased power generation prices in South Australia, Webb said wind power helps keep energy prices down when the weather is windy.
The state has pursued solar energy as well; “cumulative installed solar capacity” could soon hit five gigawatts, according to reports. Webb said renewable energies will help Australia meet the targets set as part of the Paris agreement, and will help slash pollution in the energy industry. She also pointed to new technologies such as battery storage as innovations that will help spur the movement towards clean energy.