From small things, big things grow is a message that inspires the Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Zone (MITEZ) and is the reason the regional development group supports a variety of projects such as feasibility studies and technical reports that are expected to benefit economies in the North West.

One such project nominated by McKinlay Shire Council in 2018 and to receive funding from the Queensland Government is a transportable, renewable energy pod designed as an alternative power supply for rural properties.

Many rural and isolated properties in the MITEZ region between Mount Isa and Townsville currently receive their electricity through a single wire earth return (SWER), delivered via a network of power poles connecting properties to the ERGON grid.

In recent years, as a means of assisting the Shire’s residents and businesses to reduce their power bills and at the same time improve reliability of supply, McKinlay Shire Council facilitated a scheme to assist residential property owners and businesses to install solar panels.

Since then McKinlay Shire Council has been looking to see how they could assist their rural ratepayers and came up with the concept of a transportable renewable energy unit that would be consist of a combination of renewable energy (solar) with battery storage backed up with a diesel generator. Mayor, Cr Belinda Murphy said a wind turbine had also been considered to keep the batteries topped up during the night-time and this is still a future option.

“The 20 kva energy pod was installed at Glenagra, a property in the McKinlay Shire north of Kynuna about four weeks ago for an initial two year trial period and the property managers, Neil and Linda.

Zoglauer said they’re impressed with the reliability by amount of power the pod is able to supply
without any connection required to the grid” said Cr Murphy.

MITEZ CEO, Glen Graham said they were delighted to receive an application from McKinlay Shire
Council for the project and if the pod proved to be as successful as anticipated, then similar units
could be used across a range of applications such as for construction camps, mine sites, major
events as well as benefitting isolated rural properties.

German company, INTECH designed and manufactured the energy pod, and since embarking on this
project with McKinlay Shire Council, have established a branch in Queensland where they expect to
begin manufacturing more of the energy pods.