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ARENA Project

Reliable and resilient wind energy for off-grid telecommunication towers

The need for resilient small-scale wind energy 

Telecommunication providers rely heavily on diesel generation to power their off-grid sites. These organisations are exposed to fuel cost fluctuations and unpredictable diesel transport costs. Natural disasters like bushfires and floods only compounds this problem further.
 
Barriers to adoption of renewable energy at remote sites must be overcome. Space constraints restrict the addition of more solar PV panels. Increasing battery capacity is not sustainable and only possible if there is a renewable supply available to charge them. There is a need for an alternative and complementary energy source.
 
Small-scale wind technology is the natural counterpart to solar PV and diesel. Wind technology has been investigated by telecommunications operators as a complementary energy source. Adopters have no clear path on how to best integrate wind generation into existing electrical systems and tower infrastructure.
 
Our world-leading small-scale wind turbine technology helps businesses wanting to increase renewable adoption. Diffuse Energy's innovative hardware service model reduces CAPEX, saves on diesel, and increases renewable output.

 

 

Partnering with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency 

This project, in partnership with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), will ensure rigorous validation for Australia’s telco sites. A nationwide rollout of our wind turbine technology can displace 17 GWh of fossil fuelled generation per year. This can save $43.9M in diesel fuel, transportation costs, and generator maintenance.

ARENA's goal is to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy through innovation that benefits Australian consumers and businesses. Since 2012, ARENA has supported 566 projects with $1.63 billion in grant funding, unlocking a total investment of almost $6.69 billion in Australia’s renewable energy industry.

Learn more at the official ARENA project page.

 

“Diffuse Energy’s micro wind technology offers a real unique 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." 

Darren Miller

CEO, ARENA

Key project details

 
Objectives

This project is focused on field verification of Diffuse Energy's innovative small-scale wind turbine technology. Ten years of system operational data will be produced incorporated with industry led case studies. Savings in operational costs, reduction in diesel consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions will be reported. This information is essential as the remote communications industry continues its path towards zero emissions. 

 

Technical and commercial outcomes

Technical and commercial outcomes go hand-in-hand. Our project will provide verifiable data on the commercial benefits of small-scale wind to inform decision makers within the telecommunications industry. Key to these results is detailed datalogging that will capture wind turbine system performance in conjunction with  detailed wind resource and meteorological information. 

Outcomes include:

  • Installation of 10 Hyland 920 small-scale wind turbine units across Australian telco sites.

  • Targeting a 20% - 50% reduction in diesel consumption, and 60-100% renewable penetration (site specific).

  • Field verification of turbine performance as per the international small wind turbine standard (IEC 61400.2).
 
Project partners

Diffuse Energy has partnered with Vertel and Positive Off-Grid Solutions to deliver this project. Telecommunication sites provided by our partner organisations to showcase the benefits of small-scale wind energy in a commercial context.

Diffuse Energy has partnered with the University of Newcastle, Australia, as a knowledge sharing and research partner. This capitalises on +20 years of research within the wind energy field. 

 

Industry reference panel

Formation of an industry reference group has been undertaken to assure rigorous validation of product business model. This will involve quarterly meetings to communicate progress, lessons learnt, and any obstacles. Knowledge sharing activities will provide actionable data to our target industry. We have representation from the following parties:

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Telstra icon blue 1200px-NBN_Co_logo.svg optus
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We welcome participation from interested parties. Please contact Diffuse Energy for further information.

Current status

This 18 month project has officially commenced as of Q4 2020. Diffuse Energy and project participants are finalising site locations and datalogging systems for deployment. Future updates will be published here.

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