Australian telecommunications giant Telstra is setting up a new division tasked with further improving energy efficiency within the company and rolling out more solar across the organisation.
“As a company with a large portfolio of physical infrastructure across Australia, we see some real opportunities to use technology to become more efficient at managing our energy use,” said Cynthia Whelan, Group Executive, Telstra International & New Businesses.
” Solar energy and improvements in battery technology will be an area of particular focus, and we are looking at potential partnerships with energy and technology companies as well as our enterprise customers.”
Heading the division will be Ben Burge, who previously worked with PowerShop.
Telstra was a solar + storage pioneer in Australia and currently uses the clean energy technology to generate electricity at more than 13,850 sites across the country. These mainly consist of small off-grid solar panel systems with conventional deep cycle batteries located at remote sites.
In 2014, Telstra installed 12kW of solar PV capacity in total at its Greensborough and Oakleigh exchanges in Melbourne; the first time it had used solar to directly power its network equipment run on mains-based DC power systems.
More recently, the company has been using a solar fuel cell system to provide back-up power to a small exchange east of Melbourne.
The Lyndhurst and Deer Park sites feature 30kW PV arrays that are expected to produce around 40,000 kWh of electricity each per year. The solar installations are the largest grid-connected systems Telstra has deployed and also the first to be put into service at metropolitan exchanges.
“In the coming years we will look to further expand the rollout of solar panels to ensure that we can continue to meet the targets set out in our environmental action plan,” said Telstra Property Executive Director John Romano.
Mr. Romano said Telstra reduced its overall carbon emissions intensity by 27 per cent last year. The company has set a long term target to slash its carbon emissions per terabyte of data used by 55 per cent over a three year period; from FY15 to FY17.
“Our ongoing energy reduction programs continue to significantly reduce energy consumption at Telstra exchange buildings. These include exchange audits, optimisation activities, and turning-off redundant equipment,” he said.