5 minute read

Calculating capacity factor

Theo Comino
14 September 2018

Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydro do not generate energy all the time.

The ability for wind and solar plants to reach their full generation capacity is strongly dependent upon the intermittent availability and intensity of wind and solar energy – this is determined by weather conditions and the time of day. Or put simply, depending on how much the wind blows and the sun shines.

In the case of hydro, capacity factor depends on when it is switched on to meet spikes in demand. Hydro’s ability to be rapidly activated in this way, is why it is a critical aspect of a renewable energy mix.

What is capacity factor?

Capacity factor is the percentage of actual electrical output out of the total possible electrical output of a generation asset.

How is capacity factor calculated?

We calculate capacity factors using actual FY18 generation output as a proportion of total possible FY18 generation capacity, for AGL’s operated wind, solar and hydro assets.