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It’s 1987 and wind farms are totally rad...

In 1987, the America’s Cup came to Freo, the much-loved Dirty Dancing was first released in cinemas and we opened our first wind farm to harness the power of the wind in WA.

Now we have wind farms, wind-diesel systems and wind-gas systems dotted all over the state. Being in such a windy part of the world, it makes sense to put that energy to good use.

The way it all works is quite simple:

  1. A rotor with blades sits on top of a tall tower (around 80 or 90 metres tall)
  2. Once the wind reaches at least 10 to 15km/h, the rotors will start spinning
  3. This creates kinetic energy which travels through a generator to a transformer to end up in the electricity grid. 

Our wind farms are completely renewable and add extra capacity to the grid which means we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 109,000 tonnes per year.

The winds of time

Here’s an overview of our wind farm activity since 1987.

1987 – 1st wind farm in Australia opens in WA

The Salmon Beach wind farm near Esperance was the first wind farm in Australia. Six turbines operated for nearly 15 years before being decommissioned in 2002 because of the age of the turbines and larger and more cost-effective units became available.

Fun fact!

If you’re ever in the area, you can spot a single turbine proudly on display in Esperance as a celebration of the launch of wind energy in Australia.

1993 – Wind power gets miles ahead in Esperance

The Esperance wind farm has nine turbines positioned at Ten Mile Lagoon. In 2004, six more turbines were built at Nine Mile Beach. The two wind farms now generate enough to meet around 20% of Esperance’s power needs.

1997 – Double Denham sets the trend

Denham, on the Shark Bay peninsula, has its own power supply provided by our smart wind-diesel system. This was built in 1997 then expanded in 1998 and 2007. If the wind drops, the town’s power station keeps a continual supply of electricity to the town.

2004 onwards – More turbines and more wind farms added WA

The year 2004 was a busy one for wind power as we added turbines to Esperance, opened Bremer Bay Wind Farm and Hopetoun Bay Wind Farm. In 2007, Hopetoun Bay Wind Farm was expanded and Coral Bay Wind Farm was opened.

To learn more about wind energy...

Read our 15 fun facts about wind power (which may blow your mind).

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