6 June 2002 – Australia’s National Electricity Market Management Company (NEMMCO) said on Wednesday that by 2005 a further 1600 MW of windpower will be available to the electricity market.

NEMMCO head of planning Tim George told an Energy Users Association of Australia seminar that NEMMCO needs to work quickly to understand how wind power could be used in the market.

“For us to be able to plan in advance how much capacity we need, we have to understand how much capacity we can rely on,” George said.

“So this is going to require a lot of study on weather patterns to see what conditions are going to be like. We have to move fairly quickly on that as wind energy is going to be a significant feature very soon.”

Hydro Tasmania currently produces 60 per cent of Australia’s wind energy, which it hopes to be able to export to the mainland through the A$500m ($288m) Basslink undersea project joining island state Tasmania to the national electricity market.

A government advisory panel draft report has given conditional approval to Basslink and a final recommendation to the Victorian, Tasmanian and federal governments is due in July.

On Wednesday, Hydro Tasmania announced it had signed a deal with Aurora Energy to connect the Woolnorth wind farm, which is due to start producing 10.5 MW by July, to Tasmania’s national power grid.