Electricity distributors Ergon Energy and Energex have put composite power poles on trial in various parts of Queensland.
Minister for Mines and Energy Geoff Wilson said the trial was part of a consortium bid to explore the suitability of fibre composite power poles. “The State Government is encouraging a move away from hardwood timber poles taken from state forests,” Mr Wilson said.
“Fibre composite power poles could ultimately lead to a more environmentally-friendly version of overhead electricity line supports. While fibre composite poles are expected to cost slightly more than hardwood poles, they could offer a number of benefits. For instance, pest and rot resistance, low inspection and maintenance costs, a longer service life and cheaper transport and construction costs due to its lighter weight,” Mr Wilson said.
In-service trials could take some years, with the poles not expected to be fully endorsed for service in Australian locations for at least four to five years.
Minister Wilson said an international tender for a trial batch of 140 fibre composite poles was launched last year by the Energy Networks Association with the support of the Queensland Department of State Development and Trade.
The fibre composite poles will be tested at various sites across the state as well as trial sites in Victoria and New South Wales. They’ll be tested for resistance to extremes of temperature, humidity, lightning and attacks from termites and fungus. The poles will be subjected to high voltage laboratory tests as well as strength and resilience tests to ensure they meet Australian Standards.
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