I stumbled upon an incredible article recently that I just had to share with you. A few years ago, a retired colleague from Snowy Hydro Limited gave me a bundle of papers, and among them was a true gem: ‘Surveying for Wind Power in Australia’ by LF Mullett, published way back in 1957.
This remarkable 65-year-old paper focused on the wind resources of South Australia. What caught my attention was Mullett’s visionary perspective. He mentioned the theoretical possibility of machines with a capacity of up to two megawatts, driven by impressive 300-foot diameter turbines. Even more impressive was the estimated cost of around £200,000, with the potential to generate a whopping 17 million kilowatt hours per year, it would only cost about 0.2 pence per kilowatt hour.
1957 survey of wind resources in South Australia
What makes this even more fascinating is how closely Mullett’s work aligns with the costs and dimensions of the turbines we see in operation today. To put it into perspective, that £200,000 investment in 1957 would be worth roughly $6.6 million today. Extraordinary!
This discovery brought back memories of the exciting growth we witnessed in 2004 when our onshore wind industry began to flourish. And now, as offshore wind takes centre stage, we’re stepping into a whole new era of transformation.