Farmers in Western Australia are utilising Western Power’s stand-alone power systems (SPS) to keep kangaroos out of their crops.
The system they’re using is laying a hot wire, an electric cable about a foot off the ground. It doesn’t harm the animals that try to cross it, rather it gives a sharp but off-putting jolt.
Farmers Romina and Nick Priest use the hot wire method on their Bonnie Rock property, and they say it works a treat. Only, if the power goes out due to wind, rain, heat and so on, the hot wires are useless.
Near the house, it’s not such a problem as the Priest’s have a back-up generator, but in the two paddocks they grow crop in there is no back-up.
That problem is about to be solved by Western Power, which is installing a stand-alone power system with solar panels and a battery to ensure constant and reliable power to the hot wires.
Romina says she’s delighted.
“It’s only a little unit, as it will only be powering up the hotwire, but it means the hotwire will be on all the time, which means it can do its job,” she says.
According to Western Power, the SPS unit will replace power that currently comes from a transformer that used to power a house, now long-gone. The transformer is at the end of a spur line, and given it will no longer be needed, Romina is hopeful that means the poles and wires along the line can go to as well.
“There’s 42km of poles and wires running to that transformer, and we’re hoping they will be able to get rid of them as they won’t be needed,” Romina says.
“We’d be really pleased about that as they are a bushfire risk, and a bit of a pain when you are trying to crop around poles with the GPS.”
Although the SPS unit is not due to be installed until January, the Priest’s are already thinking about where they could use SPS next on the farm.
“We run a really big workshop that’s pretty power hungry, so that feels like a bigger job. But the quarters are on a different line to the homestead, and they’re not as power hungry as the workshops,” she says.
“So if this first unit works well, the quarter might be the next option for SPS.”