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Will Removing Powerlines Reduce Bushfire Risk?

The Victorian Government will implement new Stand-Alone Power Systems (SAPS) grants in selected regional areas in an attempt to reduce bushfire risk.

The grants, coming as part of a $750 million Powerline Bushfire Safety Program, will be available to targeted landowners who opt-in to the initiative, allowing properties at the end of high voltage powerlines in the most bushfire prone areas to go off the grid by installing a SAPS.

Properties choosing to go off the grid will assist in shortening the remaining powerline, reducing bushfire risk and in turn, increasing the reliability of their energy supply.

The SAPS grant will consist of renewable energy such as wind and solar panels, batteries for storage and back-up generators.

Acting Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lisa Neville also spoke of undergrounding and insulation as being other options to replace or remove high risk powerlines in bushfire risk areas.

“By permanently removing high risk powerlines, the risk of bushfires started by powerlines will be significantly reduced,” she said.

The Powerline Bushfire Safety Program comes as a bushfire risk reduction measure suggested in the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, following the devastating 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.