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National Trust plans £35m renewable energy roll-out

Posted on 23 April 2013

Good Energy has teamed up with the National Trust in a £3.5m pilot to switch to self-generated renewable energy for its properties. If successful, the Trust will spend 10 times that amount rolling out a programme covering 43 of its properties, that will see 50% of its energy generated from renewables by 2020, halving its fossil fuel consumption.

Wind turbines do not feature in its plans, some of its members may be pleased to hear, especially its chairman, Sir Simon Jenkins, who is an outspoken critic of wind farms.

Instead, the technologies will include biomass boilers, heat pumps and hydroelectricity.

The four million members of the charity will also be able to support the programme by switching their energy provider to Good Energy, on a green tariff, in return for which the company will pay the Trust £40 per year for each new customer.

If just 5% of members did this, it would raise £3.8m for investment in renewable energy, and see 95,000 homes furnished with green power.

This is not the first time the Trust has shown an interest in reducing its carbon emissions. Last year it received the top Ashden Award for cutting its energy use by 41% on properties in Wales in just two years.

Over the last decade it has also installed over 150 renewable energy schemes across a wide range of technologies: wood (biomass), solar electricity and hot water, small-scale wind, hydro-electric and heat pumps.

Patrick Begg, rural enterprises director at National Trust, said: "Through our work we show that renewable technologies can be made to work in some of the country's most sensitive landscapes and historic environments.

"Like householders everywhere we are facing rising energy bills. We spend more than £6m each year heating and powering the places in our care."

Juliet Davenport, Good Energy's CEO, said: "Britain is blessed with abundant sources of natural power, and we hope people will be inspired when they see how National Trust properties can generate renewable power in harmony with the environment.

"Together we hope to inspire people to switch to green electricity, reduce their energy usage, and if possible generate their own renewable power at home."

The company is also helping the charity to develop its renewable energy strategy. The Trust has a considerable challenge to meet, spending nearly £6m a year to heat and power its 300 major historic houses, plus office buildings, visitor centres and 360 holiday cottages.

This bill is forecast to rise to £7.5m by 2020. If the strategy is successful, however, it should save £4.3 million from 2019 onwards, and provide an expected 10% return on investment, due to a combination of lower fuel costs and income generated by Feed-in Tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Initially, there will be five pilot projects:

Plas Newydd, on the Menai Straits, Anglesey, will get a pioneering 300kW marine source heat pump, providing 100% of its heating needs
Croft Castle, near Leominster, will benefit from a 150kW biomass boiler, supplying 74% of its heating needs
Ickworth, near Bury St Edmunds, will have a 300kW biomass boiler, supplying all of its heating needs
Craflwyn, in Snowdonia, will have a small scale hydropower installation generating at least 100kW hydro-generation, which will be sold back to the grid
Stickle Ghyll, in the Lake District, will receive a 90kW hydro-electric project providing 30% of its energy needs.

If these are successful, 38 further schemes will be introduced across the country.


Source: link2portal