SMALL wind turbines could provide the solution to powering off-grid telecommunications towers as well as having other applications in remote areas.
Newcastle-based startup company Diffuse Energy will install its wind turbines on 10 off-grid telecommunications towers at various locations in Australia, after receiving a $341,990 grant from the Federal Government's Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
Diffuse Energy say the design of its 500 watt small wind turbine overcomes a number of technical issues including low energy efficiency, maintenance, and poor commercial outcomes.
Currently telecommunications providers rely heavily on diesel generation to power their off-grid sites. It also leaves them exposed during natural disasters such as bushfires and floods, cutting off vital communications when it is most required.
Diffuse Energy co-founder and CEO Joss Kesby welcomed ARENA's support, saying the operation could be scaled up.
"Telecommunication providers depend on secure and resilient energy generation in order to deliver essential communication services," Mr Kesby said.
"The industry is also rapidly moving towards net zero carbon emissions creating a very strong demand for innovative, cost-effective renewable technologies."
"A nationwide rollout of our wind turbine technology to these sites could displace 17GWh and 33,000 tonnes of CO2 from fossil fuelled generation per year.
"Equivalent to $43.9 million in savings of diesel fuel, transportation costs, and generator maintenance."
Diffuse Energy was one of seven teams that participated in ARENA's A-Lab Incubate in late 2019, successfully using that experience to help develop their project.
Small wind turbines are complementary to solar PV and batteries, particularly when solar and batteries are restricted due to space restrictions or lack of sun.
Founded in 2018 out of the University of Newcastle, Diffuse Energy will use the project to further validate their technology for the global telecommunications market which is expected to spend more than US$3.4 billion on distributed energy solutions by 2024.
ARENA chief executive officer Darren Miller said Diffuse Energy's micro wind technology offered an opportunity for a renewable energy solution to reduce emissions for off-grid telecommunications, while also ensuring the resilience of these towers in being able to operate at critical times such as during bushfires.
"ARENA is excited to be assisting an Australian startup in proving the effectiveness of their small wind turbine technology which could have large market potential across many markets and applications.
"While this particular project is focusing on communications towers, the technology could also have other potential applications including mining, small microgrids and farming," he said.
The story Small wind turbines deliver remote telecommunications solution first appeared on Queensland Country Life.