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Rural Connectivity Group chooses Redflow batteries for off-grid energy storage in New Zealand

November 19, 2019 9:23 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The New Zealand Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) has chosen Redflow zinc-bromine flow batteries to store energy in off-grid telecommunication sites in remote rural locations. Commercial negotiations to establish a direct relationship between RCG and Redflow to purchase batteries are now underway.

The RCG was established by the New Zealand Government in 2017 as an independent entity to build, operate and maintain a new open-access network. The RCG will build over 400 new cell sites in rural locations to extend mobile and wireless broadband coverage to more than 34,000 rural homes and businesses, provide mobile coverage to a further 1000 kilometres of state highways and provide connectivity to more than 100 top New Zealand tourist destinations by December 2022. The new cell sites will be a combination of both off-grid and on-grid locations.

This critical infrastructure project is funded by the government’s Telecommunications Development Levy and an extra $75M from the three mobile network operators, Spark, Vodafone and 2Degrees.

RCG’s off-grid cell sites will meet their energy needs through a combination of PV solar panels, Redflow batteries and a backup generator. It is anticipated that the first site, which will use eight Redflow batteries, will be installed by the end of December 2019.

RCG Head of Procurement and Commercial, Richard Spencer, said the company looked forward to working with Redflow on this critical off-grid deployment. “We have closely examined Redflow’s energy storage technology and believe it provides a compelling solution for RCG due to its deep cycling capability, its long life and its environmental benefits over competing technologies,” he said.

Redflow Managing Director and CEO Tim Harris said the use of Redflow batteries at RCG’s sites was evidence of further progress in targeting the telecommunications sector and the environmental and performance benefits of zinc-bromine flow batteries. “We have been working with the RCG over the past six months and are delighted that we have been selected for this important deployment,” he said.

“This adds to the success of our recent deployments with Optus in the Daintree rainforest in Queensland, our current system powering an off-grid site for Vodafone New Zealand in the Thames Coromandel area and our recent order for one of South Africa’s largest telecommunication companies. We look forward to negotiating the supply arrangements with RCG and finalising the detailed financial elements of the relationship.”

Submitted by John Harris, Impress Media Australia, Email: john@impress.com.au