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The Victorian Government has launched a new renewable hydrogen back-up system for the Neerim North mobile network, which aims to boost energy resilience during storms and other extreme weather events.

The 10kW renewable hydrogen generators will deliver up to 72 hours of back-up power and help maintain mobile coverage during power outages.

The Victorian Government has invested $1.1 million into the Telstra Hydrogen Fuel Cell Pilot project, which has installed five hydrogen fuel cells in communities that have experienced extreme storms, such as Coldstream, Kinglake, Christmas Hills and Chum Creek.

Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, said, “We are focused on delivering more renewables to ensure communities are better supported during emergencies to maintain vital communications with emergency services during outages.”

This pilot is one of the projects funded through the $6.6 million Renewable Hydrogen Commercialisation Pathways Fund. Other companies like Volgren Australia, Viva Energy, Energys Australia and Boundary Power are also undertaking hydrogen pilots, trials and demonstrations as part of the program.

In June 2023, Boundary Power successfully commissioned Australia’s first solar-renewable hydrogen standalone power system. Telstra is investigating how renewable hydrogen can play a role in decarbonising energy supply and building energy resilience.

The Telstra Hydrogen Fuel Cells were manufactured by Energys Australia at its Mulgrave factory. Energys Australia has also been supported through the Commercialisation Pathways Fund support for a renewable hydrogen production facility that will facilitate the uptake of renewable hydrogen in Victoria.

Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio, said “Victoria’s Gas Substitution Roadmap confirms that renewable hydrogen will play a critical, targeted role in the energy transition by strengthening energy resilience as we keep communities powered reliably and affordably.”

Telstra Integrated Network, Facilities & Environment Executive, Vicki Romanovski, said, “Our network and other infrastructure can be affected during an extreme weather event and renewable hydrogen is an alternative energy option that could help keep our customers connected. The pilot will help us determine its future role in this space.”

Featured image: Jackson Stock Photography/Shutterstock.com

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