What if the wind doesn’t blow?

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A lot of research is done to ensure wind farms are sited in locations that experience consistent and strong winds. Many parts of Australia are blessed with conditions that suit the harvesting of wind energy. Wind turbines in Australia are, on average, actually in operation more than 95% of the time. Notwithstanding our favourable conditions, there are times even in the windiest locations when the wind does not blow. However, we can accurately predict when the wind will blow and how much energy the wind farm will produce. So while the wind may be intermittent it is predictable. Our vast electricity network is built to accommodate significant fluctuations both in the supply and in the demand for electricity. We use a range of generation technologies and plant to supply the electricity. Wind farms are just one part of this complicated system and will not be the sole source of electricity. The variation in demand for electricity is far greater than the variation in supply from wind farms. Assisted by forecasts of wind farm outputs as much as 24 to 48 hours in advance, the electricity system operators are able to balance supply with demand and ensure the continuing security of supply.