We  took  PowerCrate® to Fieldays® at Mystery Creek, Hamilton in 2024. PowerCrate 1 (as she is unimaginatively but affectionately called) is the first unit we built  and our workhorse for demonstrations and trade shows.  She’s crossed the Cook Strait three times now, having been on demonstration in New Plymouth and Marlborough, and then at Southern Field Days and the Blueskin Bay A&P show. And now fresh from Fieldays she’s on her way down to a demonstration in the Wairarapa. She gets around.

Last year  we had a small booth in the  Rural Living marquee at Fieldays, but this year we were invited to the Sustainability Hub to help spotlight a need for rural resilience. From our market interactions, NZ seems more cognizant than ever of the threat of national disasters with the fragility of of our infrastructure being routinely exposed of late  in climate disasters, deep freezes, and even toppling  transmission towers (!).

A PowerCrate’s journey first starts in Dunedin where it completes its factory acceptance test. We hope to assemble future ‘Crates in strategic centres around NZ,  but in all cases,  the next step is a streamlined process of delivery and deployment with a HIAB ride to and from the freight depots.  PowerCrate 1 was delivered to Mystery Creek on June 5th and awaited Bill’s and Matt’s arrival for the 2 hr setup on June 10th (see demo here). We were blessed with good weather for the setup  on Monday and the stowing on Sunday, but Fieldays was generally a wet and almost windless event .

Can you distinguish the wind turbine from its doppelgänger? The wind finally came up on the Friday.  This highlighted both the importance of the hybrid generation, wind and solar, and the necessity for a larg-ish battery or diesel generator for those days when there is no sun or wind.  PowerCrate is a complete system;  no matter the application or local climate condition, electricity provision is seamless and autonomous. In our next blog post we will discuss those applications in more detail.

One such application is for off-grid living and Bill participated in the Hub’s “Ask an Expert…” series where he expounded on almost a quarter century of off-grid living to those intrepid souls going rural, sharing his valuable experience on not just  electricity,  but also water  and waste management, and  house and heating design.

As in 2023, Fieldays didn’t disappoint in providing an inquisitive audience. We are grateful for all of the interactions over the four days, including a visit from the Green Party  MPs (Chlöe Swarbrick, Scott Willis and Steve Abel) with whom we had an extended discussion on resilience, decarbonisation, and where small distributed energy fits in.

Powerhouse Wind was in good company inside the Sustainability Hub, as was the PowerCrate outside. The visage appearing near the PowerCrate in the collage below belongs to Wiremu Tamihana, a 19th century leader of the Ngāti Hauā Māori iwi, who is famously known as “the Kingmaker” for his role in the Maori King movement. Ngāti  Hauā  were also the tiaki for us at Fieldays and  generally for the greater whenua. We shared the Hub with a diverse group of companies, agencies and laboratories (Tyrewise, Assure Quality, eClean, Lincoln Agritech, Predator Free Trust, Deep Dive Division, InStep, Rural Energy), all focusing on aspects of  Aotearoa preservation for the future. In the image above where Tim is talking to Chlöe Swarbrick, in the background one can see an old wreck of a car that Deep Dive Division hauled out of the Waikato River. 

It was a successful exhibition and our thanks to all the visitors and our co-exhibitors. A special thank you to Steve Chappell and Janine Monk for organising the Sustainability Hub.