The first self-sufficient hybrid renewable energy container to power one lucky North West Queensland property arrives from Antwerp, Belgium today.
The Intech Energy Container will be tested in a one-year trial as part of a $100,000 joint venture between the Queensland Government, McKinlay Shire Council, and MITEZ, with Ergon Energy supporting customers in reducing energy costs.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the power pod, equipped with solar panels, a battery and a generator, will supply a McKinlay Shire grazier with an of off-the-grid renewable energy, in a bid to offer more reliable and affordable electricity for rural properties.
“This project is a fantastic example of the innovative ideas getting off the ground thanks to the Queensland Government’s Remote Area Board fund,” he said.
“Previous projects undertaken have demonstrated real initiative and imagination and this is exactly the type of activity we need to see in regional areas to grow economic diversity and create jobs.
“We recently boosted funding to RABs by $2.25 million to continue fostering long-term economic planning by identifying business opportunities and encouraging development and investment.”
Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said that the arrival of a new class of renewable energy cargo arrive in the port following the utility-scale solar farm boom was exciting.
“Growing container trade has been powered by imports of solar project cargo, and it is wonderful to see new technologies in the renewable sector being shipped through Townsville Port destined for communities in our region.”
McKinlay Shire Council Mayor, Cr Belinda Murphy, said while local Ergon crews always worked to get the power back on to rural customers as soon as practically possible after a storm or flood, access issues could delay repairs to the SWER (Single Wire Earth Return) network.
“SWER lines span hundreds of properties across North West Queensland that could benefit from this independent power source,” Cr Murphy said.
“The recipient for this project will be awarded by public ballot at Julia Creek in December,” she said.
Ergon Energy will advise on site suitability for connection of the system and conduct onsite energy audits to assist customers in reducing their energy costs.
MITEZ CEO, Glen Graham said MITEZ awarded a $55,000 grant to the project from the Queensland Government’s Remote Area Board Funding program.
“This is an innovative and collaborative trial to look to the future potential of delivering power to our remote properties with improved reliability and reduction in cost using new technology,” Mr Graham said.
During the trial, interested people will be able to view the system by appointment through McKinlay Shire Council.