Maintenance engineers at wind farm

NBN Co is conducting a trial using wind power to assess if small wind technology can extend the battery life of the infrastructure and improve network resilience during natural disasters.

During an emergency event, damage to localised power outages can impact NBN services and leave people without vital access to communications. When this occurs, NBN Co deploys temporary network infrastructure to support the network and keep it operating. 

This infrastructure is supported by a Hybrid Power Cube, which currently uses a combination of solar, compact diesel generator technologies and sodium nickel batteries to power the infrastructure for a number of days.

The Federal Government has welcomed the trial by NBN Co, which will assess if small wind technology can extend the battery life of the infrastructures further, in an environmentally sustainable way. 

The trial was planned for an initial period of three months, but will continue for as long as possible to maximise insights gained from the use of wind power during different seasons.

The project has been made possible through a collaborative partnership with Decon Technologies and is taking place at a solar powered fixed wireless site in Lovely Banks, Geelong.The wind turbines are designed in Newcastle and assembled in Port Stephens in New South Wales by Diffuse Energy.

Deputy Prime Minister and Member for Corio, Richard Marles, said the trial of renewable technologies, taking place in Geelong, is another example of how Geelong City wants to harness and be at the forefront of this exciting technology.

“We are talking about technology which could potentially save lives by keeping people connected during natural disasters,” Mr Marleas said.

This technology will be vital to keeping communities and emergency services connected during an emergency or natural disaster, especially during protracted power outages.

This program builds on a range of government initiatives that has seen the deployment of Hybrid Power Cubes to help maintain integrity of the NBN during interruptions to the power supply, as well as portable satellite units and other network elements.

The Federal Government said it hopes to continue to enable NBN Co’s integration of renewable energy solutions into its permanent and temporary infrastructure, which plays an essential role in its ability to maintain services and support communities during prolonged outages.

Federal Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, welcomed NBN Co’s commitment to keeping Australians connected and doing its bit to reduce emissions.

“This innovative trial is important for testing how renewable technologies can help keep Australians better connected during natural disasters – and help Australia address the impact of climate change on our nation and in our regions – at the same time,” Ms Rowland said.

“While no communications network can ever be 100 per cent resilient, we want to ensure that we’re at the forefront of new ideas and technologies so when disasters strike –we’re prepared.

“The outcomes of this trial, which uses portable assets, could make a real difference by strengthening connectivity in vulnerable areas.”

NBN Co is committed to becoming a more sustainable company to meet or exceed the Federal Government’s 2050 net zero commitment announced in 2022.

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