Crop farmer Adrian Perks and his family crop 4,000 hectares of farmland 68 kilometres east of Esperance. Located on a lengthy distribution spur line, power outages and fluctuations were frequent.
As crop farmers, having power poles and wires running through their paddocks presented a number of issues and hazards including:
Farm machinery colliding with power poles, particularly during seeding and harvesting when machines operate at night, risking peoples’ safety, machinery damage and power pole damage.
Ongoing pest control and weed management requirements as part of needing to leave a two to three metre buffer around each pole.
Pole top fires caused by dust on the wires, extreme weather events or bird collisions
Aerial sprayers clipping power lines.
Providing safe reliable power that met or exceeded the utility’s obligations under its charter.
Analysing the load profile, demands and usage requirements.
Mitigating the impact of a power outage by sizing the battery to be capable of providing 4 – 5 hours of back-up power, allowing the utility time to rectify an issue.
Eliminating the need to travel across farm paddocks
Ease of access for deployment and servicing
Safe distance from agricultural chemicals
Not inhibiting the movement of large farm machinery
Since the SAPS was installed in late 2019 the Perks have experienced a range of benefits:
Reliability and quality of power:
Significant reduction in power interruptions and outages, with only two outages experienced.
Improved quality and evenness of power flow.
Farm safety and land usage The removal of poles and wires in the paddocks is making it safer to operate farm machinery day and night by removing the costly impacts associated with farm machinery colliding with poles, including lengthy power outages. Additional benefits include:
Allowing the Perks to maximise the usage of their farmland.
Eliminating the need for ongoing weed and pest control management around the power pole buffer zones.
Removing risks of pole top fires in paddocks.
Making it significantly safer for aerial spraying as aircraft can fly low and stay low.
Day-to-day improvements The reliability of SAPS is improving the Perks’ day-to-day lives, including:
Eliminating the prolonged unplanned outages as a result of issues occurring somewhere along the lengthy distribution spur line.
No longer needing to maintain a generator for back-up power.
Peace of mind thanks to the SAPS’ 24-hour remote monitoring service which is able to quickly detect and resolve issues.
“Since the SAPS was installed, we’ve only experienced two outages, and in both instances the system was able to be reset remotely.
It’s great to know that if we’re not here there is someone watching the SAPS for us.” – Adrian Perks