nbn trials micro wind power during emergencies

Micro wind turbines against cloudy blue sky at nbn wireless site
Image: nbn

Early results from a trial underway at a nbn fixed wireless site near the Victorian city of Geelong indicate the potential for using wind power to help communities and emergency services stay connected to the nbn network during emergencies.

The proof-of-concept trial is a first for nbn and began in January, using three micro wind turbines to assess the use of wind as an alternative renewable energy solution to help extend the battery life of nbn’s temporary network infrastructure in an environmentally sustainable way.

Related article: NBN Co announces 100% renewable energy target

To help nbn fixed wireless sites to operate for lengthy periods of time without a connection to the power grid, nbn deploys temporary assets such as the innovative Hybrid Power Cube, an environmentally friendly power generation unit combining solar panels, compact diesel generator technologies and sodium nickel batteries—which are an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional battery energy storage systems.

Adding the wind turbine solution aims to extend this battery life even further, which will be vital to keeping communities and emergencies services connected during an emergency or natural disaster.

nbn chief engineering officer John Parkin said, “While there is still much more to do, the trial has been a success. From a sustainability perspective, we are investigating and validating new renewable energy solutions to power our network—which reduces our dependence on the grid and drives down emissions and operational costs.

“From a resilient network perspective, we have determined it is possible to use wind generation to extend the battery life of temporary assets or a site during an emergency event—supporting communities and emergency services with connectivity when they need it most.

And from an innovation perspective, we can see how critical Australian innovation is to solving shared sustainability challenges. This wind power solution has been a long time in the making and it’s exciting to be able to evaluate it in real time on our network.”

The trial uses innovative Australian small wind technology, which was designed in Newcastle, developed in Port Stephens by Australian start-up Diffuse Energy, and brought to life in partnership with Decon Technologies.

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