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Horizon Power bolsters Telstra network resiliency

February 01 2022

Horizon Power has partnered with Telstra to transition Western Australia’s first remote mobile tower from an overhead power supply to a standalone power system (SPS). 

The continuous, off-grid power solution has been installed at Mount Ney, east of Esperance, in preparedness for emergencies and natural disasters as a part of Horizon Power’s $10 million Renew the Regions Standalone Power Systems project, due to be completed by mid-2022. 

The SPS is providing next generation solar and battery technology to generate and store electricity without the need for the tower to be connected to the overhead electricity network, and is being trialled by Telstra in its ongoing efforts to strengthen network resiliency. 

The installation has been well received by the Shire of Esperance and local emergency services crews, who have been advocating for improved power reliability to remote mobile communication towers since the 2015 bushfires, which destroyed powerlines and knocked out mobile communications in the area. 

This off-grid solution is one of 45 units currently being deployed by Horizon Power in the Esperance region on farming properties located along end-of-grid spurs that will soon be decommissioned.  

Transitioning these customers to standalone solutions means Horizon Power can remove the poles and wires, in turn reducing the associated bushfire risks and enhancing reliability of power supply. 

Horizon Power Chief Executive Officer, Stephanie Unwin, joined the Minster for Energy, Hon Bill Johnston, members of the local community and Telstra representatives on site to mark the milestone in the utility’s efforts to support the resiliency of telecommunications networks across regional Western Australia. 

“Providing an essential service to regional Western Australian’s means we must be responsive to the challenges they face and work with other service providers to find robust solutions,” Ms Unwin said. 

“Bushfires, floods and cyclones can have a devastating impact on our network infrastructure, which provides power to other essential services like these mobile phone towers.” 

“We know how important reliable communications is in emergency situations, and how frightening it can be for our customers and our people when the phone lines are down.” 

“We are really pleased to partner with Telstra to make sure we are continuing to help keep our communities safe, connected and informed during stressful events.” 

Telstra Regional General Manager, Boyd Brown, said the off-grid power solution could help deliver better safety for the community, sustainably.   

“Whether it’s telling loved ones you’re ok or accessing the latest information, staying connected during a disaster is so important,” Mr Brown said. 

“Telecommunication networks need a reliable energy source to deliver vital connectivity to communities and we continually look for new ways to minimise interruptions. We are pleased to be working with Horizon Power to trial this new solution at our Mount Ney site.” 

In addition to the Renew the Regions rollout, Horizon Power has been allocated $45.8 million to install a further 150 SPS units across regional Western Australia by 2025 as a part of the State Government’s SPS commitment. 

Across both programs of work, at least six more mobile tower SPS will be deployed throughout Horizon Power’s service area over the coming 24 months.

Horizon Power acknowledges the Traditional Custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.

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