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Wind energy is one of the fastest growing sustainable energy source in the world. The number of countries using wind energy is growing rapidly.
Wind energy involves the generation of electricity from the kinetic energy of moving air. Wind turbines capture energy in the wind passing through the area swept by their blades. The rotating blades in turn drive an electrical generator to produce electrical energy.
Western Australia has an excellent wind resource and wind is one of the cheapest renewable energy options in the state.
The growth of the market for wind energy is being driven by a number of factors, including the desire to reduce our dependence on depleting fossil fuels and so reduce their impact on our climate, and the cost and improvements in the technology itself.
Wind power generation costs have fallen dramatically over the past 15 years and wind turbines have improved enormously in their capacity, efficiency and reliability since the first commercial wind turbines were installed in the 1980s.
Sites where there is strong, consistent wind are the best for wind farms. An excellent wind site is generally considered to provide average wind speeds greater than 8 metres per second (29 kilometres per hour) at 80m above ground level.
In 2007 the Federal Government committed to ensuring that 20 percent of Australia's electricity supply would come from renewable energy sources by 2020 by establishing the expanded national Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme. The RET scheme commenced on 1 January 2010 and is expected to deliver more than 45,000 gigawatt hours of electricity in 2020.
In 2010, wind energy generation in Australia off-set 5.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide which is equivalent to taking 1.1 million cars from our roads.
Australia has some of the world’s best wind resources. The total operating wind capacity at the beginning of 2011 was 1,991 megawatts. The amount of installed capacity of wind power has increased by an average of 30 per cent each year over the past decade. Wind energy supplies over 5,100 gigawatt hours of electricity annually - around 2 per cent of Australia's overall electricity needs.
There are currently over 9,000 megawatts (MW) of large-scale wind farm energy projects proposed around the country.
In the world
The use of wind power continues to grow around the world. Global installed capacity at the end of 2010 was almost 194 gigawatts - a 22 percent increase on 2009.
The top five wind energy nations are China, United States, Germany, Spain and India.
Verve Energy has a number of wind farms and is building more.