D-G reiterates commitment to renewables

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Latest update 28.10.2013 15:49

Our Director-General reiterated her personal commitment to renewable energy in her first speech at the charity’s AGM on Saturday 26 October.

A personal commitment
Speaking at the event, Helen Ghosh, our Director General, said: 'Our members, and the nation more generally, expect us to stand up for cultural heritage and the natural environment, of course. We are not just a heritage attraction operator – we have a contribution to make to the debates that matter in this country.

'In the last couple of days my post bag has been dominated by the question of energy.

'We are worried about carbon emissions and the effects of climate change on our properties and the wider world. I was in Essex only last week where I saw first-hand the impact of climate change on Northey Island. That is why we support the development of renewable energy and low-carbon technologies that harvest nature not mine it, and that work in the landscape – particularly in the special landscapes that we look after.

'Our own programme of renewable energy, whether it’s hydro-electricity on the slopes of Snowdon, a marine heat pump in the Menai Straits, or the many other examples across the Trust, show how we are leading the way in finding practical solutions.

'We know it’s not something we can do alone, which is why we are working with other organisations, landowners and charities. There are no easy answers to these questions but it is important that we engage in the debate and stand up for beautiful and historic places.'

Our renewable energy pilot projects
Earlier this year we launched a £3.5 million renewable energy pilot with our energy partner Good Energy that could lead to us investing ten times that amount in renewable technology at 43 of its properties.

We have committed to reducing our energy use by 20 per cent and generating 50 per cent of our energy from renewable energy sources by 2020.

This will enable us to reduce our energy costs by more than £4 million per annum, releasing more money for our conservation work.

Everyone is able to support the programme by signing up for renewable electricity with Good Energy. The company will pay us £40 per year for each new customer signing up to its dual fuel tariff via the National Trust.

Speaking at the launch of the pilot, Patrick Begg, our rural enterprises director, 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 £6 million each year heating and powering the places in our care. By investing in renewable energy production, we can reduce our energy bills and invest more in vital conservation work around the country. It will put renewable energy at the heart of conservation.'

Our five pilot projects are:

  • Plas Newydd – 300 kW marine source heat pump, providing 100 per cent of the property’s heat requirements
  • Croft Castle – 150 kW biomass boiler, supplying 74 per cent of the property’s heating needs
  • Ickworth – 300 kW biomass boiler, supplying 100 per cent of the estate’s heating needs
  • Craflwyn – more than 100 kW hydro-generation, which will be sold back to the grid
  • Stickle Ghyll – 90 kW hydro-electric project providing 30 per cent of the property’s energy needs

Over the last decade, around 250 schemes have been installed in our properties, including a wide range of technologies: wood (biomass), solar electricity and hot water, small-scale wind, hydro-electric power and heat pumps.

Next month we're launching, with partners, the Fit for the Future Network. The Network will include some of the country’s biggest landowners and charities and will share best practice in energy saving and renewable energy generation.