GE wind turbines spinning among the mountains of Tehachapi, California.
Courtesy of General Electric
By Grace Donnelly
August 17, 2017

Australia’s wind energy is getting a big gust from General Electric.

The company will supply and install 123 turbines at a 453-megawatt facility 250 kilometers north-west of Brisbane, Queensland. The facility’s capacity alone will be equal to 10% of Australia’s current total wind power capacity and looks to be its largest to date.

The Coopers Gap Wind Farm, slated to be completed in 2019, will be a partnership between GE and Powering Australia Renewables Fund (PARF), which itself is a partnership between AGL Energy Limited and the Queensland Investment Corporation.

The amount of energy the farm will generate could power approximately 260,000 average Australian homes and cut CO2 emissions by 1.18 million tonnes annually. If this were happening in the states, it would be the equivalent of taking nearly 250,000 passenger vehicles off the road according to Environmental Protection Agency data.

In the last few years, GE has taken steps to optimize their wind power technology and grow their clean energy business through acquisitions of Alstom SA and LM Wind Power.

The global capacity for wind power is more than 20 times what it was 15 years ago.

China leads the world in wind power capacity with 168,690 MW, greater than the entire European Union and more than double the United States. The U.S. had just over 82,183 of wind power last year, the second largest in the world, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Australia had 17th greatest installed wind power capacity last year, with 4,327 MW of capacity.

Although Australia isn’t among the top 10 countries for total wind energy capacity, it is growing its renewable supply at a fast clip. Fifteen percent of its electricity comes from renewable sources — which beats the U.S. and is fast approaching the share of renewable electricity in China and Germany.

Wind energy is the fastest growing renewable source for electricity in the country, according to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Pete McCabe, president and CEO of GE’s Renewable Energy’s Onshore Wind business, said Australia is GE’s second largest region.

The country has seen immense growth in the sector in 2017. It has $8 billion in renewable energy projects under construction or scheduled to be completed this year alone, according to the Clean Energy Council.

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